Support Just the News

Help Fund Honest Journalism

Donate

Justice Department under Trump seized data from House Democrats in hunt for Russia classified leaks

The department seized records from Apple on House members, their families and aides.

Updated: June 11, 2021 - 8:34am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Justice Department under President Trump seized data from Democratic House members in 2017 and 2018 as part of an investigation into leaks of classified information tied to the Russia collusion investigation.

The department seized information from the accounts of at least two members of the House Intelligence committee, then top Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, as first reported Thursday by The New York Times,

The department subpoenaed Apple in 2017 and 2018 for cellphone data from the congressmen including data from aides, former aides and family members, one of whom was a reportedly a minor.

Apple was placed under a gag order that expired this year, so lawmakers didn't know about the investigation until the department informed the committee in May.

Data was collected from at least 12 people. And none of the data collected reportedly connected the committee to the leaks, reports The Times, based on information from committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry.

Swalwell confirmed Thursday he was notified his records were seized and that he was aware a minor was involved, saying, "I believe they were targeted punitively and not for any reason in law.”

Several investigations were launched into whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the election. The roughly two-year probe by special counsel Robert Mueller concluded with insufficient evidence to conclude campaign members colluded with Russia to influence the outcome.

Schiff, an outspoken Trump critic who is now chairman of the chamber's Intelligence committee, also confirmed Thursday that he had informed last month about said that it was closed. 

The California lawmaker is calling for an inspectors general investigation into the case and others that he says "suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president," according to the Associated Press.