The New York Times reported that tech giant Apple had been subpoenaed to provide information about the accounts of at least two Democratic members of Congress who were a part of the House Intelligence Committee in February 2018. Information of aides, family members and even a minor child was obtained by the Department of Justice under Donald Trump. In that period of time the Intelligence Committee was investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 elections. Two Democrats, whose phone records were subpoenaed, were Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Rep. Eric Swalwell, also of California.
A committee official confirmed to NBC News that Apple had notified current and former staff members and relatives that their information had been shared with the DOJ. The official also said that the committee asked the DOJ for additional details and was informed last month that the department had closed the matter.
Schiff, who is now the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told Rachel Maddow of CNBC that targeted records violated the separation of powers and made the “Department of Justice a fully owned subsidiary of the president’s personal legal interests.” He also called for an inquiry into the matter which took place under both Attorney Generals Jeff Sessions and William Barr. He called it a “terrible abuse of power.”
Speaking late Thursday, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., told CNN’s Don Lemon that he was informed by Apple that his records had also been sought by the DOJ. Incidentally Swalwell and other Democrats have recently brought a lawsuit against four defendants: Former president Donald Trump, Congressman Mo Brook, the representative from Alabama, Rudy Giuliani, and Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. for breaking Washington laws as they had incited pro-Trump supporters who had stormed the Capitol on January 6.
The Department of Justice under the Trump administration had not only targeted journalists from The New York Times but turned on its own congresspersons by serving subpoenas to obtain phone records of sitting congressmen. Many Democrats are aghast and have commented on this matter but there is an eerie silence on this matter which affects Congress from the Republicans to date.