(CNN) — Justice Department prosecutors from the Donald Trump administration subpoenaed Apple to obtain data from the accounts of House Intelligence Committee Democrats, including President Adam Schiff, along with his staff and family members as part of an investigation. a leak, an Intelligence Commission official and a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, another Democrat on the commission, told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday night that he was notified that his data had also been seized as part of the investigation.
Prosecutors first reported The New York TimesThey searched for the sources behind the news about the contacts between Russia and Trump’s aides.
The search for leaks began when the FBI sent a subpoena to Apple in February 2018, which included a summary secret, looking for metadata on more than 100 accounts as part of an investigation into the disclosure of classified information, the person familiar with the said. affair.
The summary secret was renewed three times before it expired this year and Apple notified customers. The House Intelligence Committee determined that, along with panel members and staff, the network collected the records of family members, including at least one minor, the person said.
The seized records included those of staff members who had nothing to do with matters related to Russia or former FBI Director James Comey, including staff in Schiff’s personal office, a source from the House Intelligence Committee told CNN. of Representatives.
The committee’s Democratic leadership is relying on self-reports to find out who has been affected at this time, both members and staff, the source said.
Swalwell confirmed to CNN that records had been obtained from family members and a minor.
“I know that’s true,” he told Lemon. “And I think they were targeted in a punitive manner, not for any legal reason, but because Donald Trump identified President Schiff and the members of the commission as his enemies.”
The subjects of the subpoena were notified in May by Apple that the Justice Department had issued grand jury subpoenas in February 2018 for their information, the House Intelligence Committee official said.
“The Commission has continued to seek additional information, but the Department has not communicated in a timely manner, including on issues such as whether the investigation was properly based and whether it was only directed at Democrats,” the commission official told CNN.
At this point, the legislative affairs staff is the only Justice Department staff that has contacted the Intelligence Commission, according to the commission’s source.
The news of the subpoena is just the latest revelation about the Trump administration’s heavy-handed tactics toward leak investigations. This development follows a series of revelations about the Justice Department secretly obtaining records from journalists, including CNN’s Barbara Starr, as well as reporters from The Washington Post and other news organizations.
And while the data did not link the commission to the leaks during then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tenure, William Barr transferred a New Jersey prosecutor to the lead Justice Department to work on the case involving Schiff and others when he became as Secretary of Justice the following year, they told The New York Times three people with knowledge of their work.
A Justice Department spokesperson, a representative for Apple and Barr declined to comment with the newspaper.
In a statement Thursday night, Schiff said: “The politicization of the Department and attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous attacks on our democracy carried out by the former president. Although the Department informed us in May that this investigation is closed, I believe that more responses are needed, so I believe that the inspector general should investigate this and other cases that suggest that a corrupt president has used law enforcement as a weapon ».
When asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo later Thursday about the number of accounts seized, Schiff said he was unsure of the number, but stated: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an extraordinary number because only the circle that I am aware of is so wide they clearly did not discriminate. They were just fishing.
That message was shared by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who called the news “heartbreaking.”
“These actions appear to be another heinous attack on our democracy waged by the former president,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“I support the call of the president of the Intelligence Commission, Adam Schiff, that this situation and other acts of use of the forces of order as weapons by the former president be investigated. Transparency is essential ”.
CNN’s Katie Bo Williams and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism