The scoop: The Justice Department under Trump subpoenaed Apple for data on at least two prominent Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.
The Justice Department informed the intelligence panel in May that the matter had not transferred to any other entity or investigative body, the committee official said, and the department confirmed that again Thursday.
News of the subpoena comes after it emerged that the Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of reporters from the Times, The Washington Postand CNNin 2020.
The reason: Trump wanted to figured out who was leaking classified information to reporters about the investigation into contacts between associates of Trump and Russian Federation, per the Washington Post. "This is a gross abuse of power and an assault on the separation of powers", Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and judiciary committee chairman Dick Durbin said in a joint statement Friday.More news: PM meeting with President Biden: 10 June 2021
Trump called the probes a "witch hunt", regularly criticised Schiff and other Democrats on Twitter and repeatedly dismissed as "fake news" leaks he found personally harmful to his agenda.
The Justice Department and Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
In a statement to Reuters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, called the news "harrowing" and said she supported Schiff's call for an investigation.
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. Still, he said, "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".More news: Biden withdraws Trump-era executive order that attempted to ban TikTok, WeChat
The paper cited unnamed committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry for the report.
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.
People familiar with the matter said there was no evidence connecting the House Intelligence Committee to the leaks, but the probe was revived when William Barr became attorney general and prosecutors doubled down on trying to figure out who leaked information about Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, and his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.
The Justice Department officials targeted electronic data not only of the lawmakers, but that of their staff and families, possibly targeting a minor because investigators thought the lawmakers were using their associates' or children's devices to hide contacts with journalists.More news: DOJ recovers $2.3 mln of Colonial Pipeline's ransom