Published: Sat, June 12, 2021
Science | By

Trump administration subpoenaed Apple for lawmakers' data

Trump administration subpoenaed Apple for lawmakers' data

This announcement comes on the heels of stunning new reporting from the New York Times that during a Trump-era leak investigation, prosecutors actually subpoenaed Apple directly for the accounts of Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell - both on the House Intelligence Committee - and their aides and family members, apparently even including one minor. And Swalwell, who has been accused by Republicans of being cozy with a Chinese Communist Party spy following an explosive Axios report that detailed his ties with the woman, said the DOJ obtained his phone data around the same time.

Apple turned over only metadata and account information, not photos, emails or other content, the Times said. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. The third person said that Apple complied with the subpoena, providing the information to the Justice Department, and did not immediately notify the members of Congress or the committee about the disclosure.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of OR and a member of the Intelligence Committee who has been a leading critic of government surveillance, said he planned to introduce legislation trying to crack down on the use of gag orders like the one used on Apple and news organizations, which were also scrutinized in the leak investigation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday that an investigation is warranted.

Schiff, in a statement, said the revelation was yet another example of the politicization of the Justice Department under Trump, adding that he had sought an investigation into the inquiry.

Eric Swalwell of California was one of at least two Democrats on the Intelligence Committee whose records were seized.

Schiff, now the panel's chair, confirmed in a statement Thursday evening (local time) that the Justice Department had informed the committee in May that the investigation was closed.

"I believe more answers are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president", Schiff said.

"Former Attorneys General Barr and Sessions and other officials who were involved must testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath".

"What they were looking for, I still don't know".

The Times report says Apple was under a gag order that expired this year.

Another Democrat on the intelligence panel, Illinois Representative Mike Quigley, said he did not find it even "remotely surprising" that Trump went after committee members' records during the Russian Federation probe. The Times also reported that after an initial round of scrutiny did not turn up evidence tying the intelligence committee to the leaks, Mr. Barr objected to closing out the inquiry and helped revive it.

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