Top Democrats Demand Ex-Attorneys General Barr, Sessions Testify Over Apple Subpoenas

Top Democrats Demand Ex-Attorneys General Barr, Sessions Testify Over Apple Subpoenas

Democrats swiftly condemned the moves, news of which followed three recent disclosures to national media organizations that the Trump Justice Department had secretly sought reporters' phone and email records in an effort to identify the sources of leaks.

The Times reported that as it hunted for the source of leaks about Trump associates and Russian Federation, the Justice Department had used grand jury subpoenas to compel Apple and one other service provider to hand over data tied to at least a dozen people associated with the House Intelligence Committee beginning in 2017 and 2018.

Schiff, who has always been an opponent of Trump and was a key architect of the former president's first impeachment inquiry, told the New York Times and other media that the DOJ subpoena regarding his phone records was authorized in 2017 or 2018. David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who worked on leak investigations, told the Times that Trump had "an unmistakeable vendetta against Congressman Schiff", and this "raises serious questions about whether the manner in which this investigation was conducted was influenced by political considerations rather than purely legal ones". Trump called the inquiries a "witch hunt" and regularly criticized Schiff and other Democrats on Twitter.

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

The Justice Department placed a gag order on Apple that expired this year, meaning lawmakers were unaware of the probes until the tech giant notified them last month, according to the paper.

Trump ends blog after 29 days, infuriated by measly readership
Trump , has been scrapped from the webpage of the former US leader, senior aide Jason Miller told CNBC on Wednesday. But Miller also acknowledged it was "not a new social media platform".

The records of at least 12 people connected to the intelligence panel were eventually seized, including Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who was then the ranking member on the committee. "It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears", Schiff said in a statement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday that an investigation is warranted.

"Like the mafia, the Justice Department became nothing more than a corrupt arm of the Trump administration", Cohen said, "run by Donald J. Trump as its head of the family".

The paper cited unnamed committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry for the report.

One of the family members targeted was a minor, the paper reported. After some of the information was declassified and made public during the later years of the Trump administration, there was concern among some of the prosecutors that even if they could bring a leak case, trying it would be hard and a conviction would be unlikely, one of the people said. He called the probe another example of Trump using the Justice Department as "a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media".

Following an outcry from press freedom organisations, the Justice Department announced last week that it would cease the practice of going after journalists' sourcing information.

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