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Trump's Justice Department seized data of House Democrats from Apple: Sources

ABC News logo ABC News 6/11/2021
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Prosecutors with former President Donald Trump's Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data from at least two Democrats who served on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as aides and their family members, one of whom was a minor, ABC News confirmed with four sources familiar with the investigation.

A House Intelligence Committee official confirmed to ABC News that Apple notified roughly a dozen people associated with the committee just last month that the DOJ issued grand jury subpoenas for their information and metadata in February 2018.

The story was first reported by The New York Times.

The committee was told in May that the matter had been closed. However, a House Intelligence committee official said the DOJ has not provided information on whether the subpoenas only targeted Democrats.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Former President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention in Greenville, N.C., June 5, 2021. © Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images Former President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention in Greenville, N.C., June 5, 2021.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the Democrats whose records were seized as part of this investigation, called for an inspector general investigation Thursday evening following the reports.

"President Trump repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will, and tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media," Schiff said in a statement. "It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears. The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former President."

Adam Schiff wearing a suit and tie © J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE

"Though we were informed by the Department in May that this investigation is 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," he added.

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A spokesman for committee Republicans did not respond to questions about whether GOP members of the panel were similarly targeted or notified.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., another member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN host Don Lemon that he was the second Democratic lawmaker targeted by the Trump Justice Department via Apple.

Adam Schiff wearing a suit and tie: In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020, file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters as lawmakers work to extend government surveillance powers that are expiring soon, on Capitol Hill in Washington. © J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILE In this Tuesday, March 3, 2020, file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters as lawmakers work to extend government surveillance powers that are expiring soon, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

"I was notified, Don, by Apple that they did seize my records," Swalwell told CNN. "It's wrong. In is what they do. They smear and they try to clear. We have seen this through the justice department by Donald Trump, whether it was the reason he was impeached for trying to go after vice president Biden at the time, or just other efforts, you know, through the Mueller investigation. And I support chairman Schiff's call for an inspector general."

The Justice Department secured a gag order on Apple that expired this year, so lawmakers did not know they were being investigated until Apple informed them last month, according to multiple sources. Apple declined to comment to ABC News.

Apple turned over only metadata and account information, not photos, emails or other content, according to one person familiar with the inquiry.

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