Washington-Friday, an independent Justice Department observer said the Trump administration and its two Attorney Generals improperly confiscated phone records of Democrats, their staff, and journalists as part of an aggressive leak investigation in 2018. Announced that it has begun an extensive investigation into whether it has been seized.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz of the Justice Department confirmed that he would not only use the subpoena to obtain the journalist’s phone record, but also initiate an investigation. Horowitz also said his watchdog would look beyond the subpoena to “other legal authorities.” [used] To obtain communications records in connection with a recent investigation into alleged unauthorized disclosure of information to the media by government officials. “
“This review examines whether the Department of Justice complies with applicable DOJ policies and procedures,” said Horowitz. Depending on the situation, OIG will consider other issues that may occur during the review. “
The Inspector General’s office can initiate an investigation based on information received from a variety of sources, including its own hotline, referrals from institutions, and Congress. In this case, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made the request.
In this announcement, Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell secretly seized data from Trump-era judiciary ministry officials as well as data from about 10 members of the House of Representatives intelligence committee and their families. It was done after confirming that it was done.
Senate Democratic leaders demanded that then-President Donald Trump’s two Attorney Generals, William Barr and Jeff Sessions, testify on the seizure of telephone records on Friday.
The New York Times, which first reported on Thursday night’s seizures, said the Justice Department had summoned Apple about 12 phone data, including two Democrats on the committee and their aides and family.
House Intelligence Commission officials confirmed the existence of Subpoena in an interview with USA Today on Friday and are a politically motivated effort to retaliate “against those who were properly investigating the abuse of the Trump administration.” I explained.
“The question we have to the Department of Justice is what this was legally premised on. When did it start and how did it last?” Officials also talked about the condition of anonymity because they did not have the authority to publicly discuss this issue.
A Commission official said, “We have repeatedly submitted basic, quick-to-answer questions to the Bureau for over a month, but have received little information other than confirmation that the investigation has been completed.” Said. “It is unacceptable to refuse to provide information. We need to fully explain this and other cases of law enforcement armed against Donald Trump’s political opponents.”
After the Times released the report Thursday night, Swolwell went to CNN to confirm that his phone data was among those seized, as were other lawmakers and their families.
California Democrats also said Apple, which was under a gag order blocking lawmakers from telling lawmakers that their data had been summoned, notified him that his records had been confiscated.
“I think (the family) was punished, not for legal reasons, because (but) Donald Trump identified Chairman Schiff and members of the committee as his enemies,” Swolwell said. Told to CNN On Thursday, he added that the gag order was motivated by fear of public perception that the Trump administration was targeting recognized political enemies.
The phone data of Chairman Schiff was also confiscated. The Times reported that a leak investigation, which began in 2017 under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sought to find a source of media coverage of the contact between Trump’s peers and Russia. However, the investigation did not find evidence that ultimately linked the commission to the leak, the Times reported.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
Democrats say they are “disastrous” targeting political opponents
House Democrats immediately condemned the foreclosure of the data and also called for a general investigation of the inspectors.
“The news about the politicization of the Trump administration’s Justice Ministry is disastrous,” Democratic House Chairman Nancy Peroshi said in a statement. “These actions appear to be yet another terrible attack on our democracy carried out by the former president.”
Democrats have also long stated that Trump used the Justice Department to track down recognized political enemies. This is an allegation that Schiff repeated on Thursday night.
“It’s clear that his request didn’t listen. This groundless investigation, which is now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s weaponization of corrupt justice,” Schiff said. Said..
In an interview with CNN On Thursday, Mr. Schiff said telephone data from several more lawmakers or staff could have been targeted as part of the leak investigation. He said people who received notifications from Apple initially thought that email was a spam or phishing attempt.
I also aimed at journalists
The Justice Department during the Trump administration also secretly obtained journalist phone records from the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. Trump and his former aide publicly condemned the leak to the press, which often leads to unpleasant news about the White House.
In the face of criticism from journalists and media supporters, the Biden administration has announced that it will not secretly obtain reporter records during the leak investigation. This is a deviation from the policy used by the previous administration to identify the sources that provided sensitive information to journalists.
This story will be updated.
Trump DOJ secretly seized phone data.Inspector general reviews
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