Schiff requires solutions, requires an investigation into experiences Trump summoned DOJ Apple over Home Dems information
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks outside of a closed session in front of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC on October 28, 2019. Capitol in front of media representatives. Also pictured are (L-R) Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
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House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Is calling for responses from the Justice Department following a bombing report that the Trump administration secretly summoned Apple over its data.
But the Biden administration has so far told the committee little about the seizures of at least two Trump-era Democrats, a frustrated intelligence committee official told NBC News.
"We have repeatedly asked the department basic and easy-to-answer questions for more than a month, but received virtually no information other than confirmation that the investigation is complete," the official told NBC on Friday.
"The department's refusal to provide information is unacceptable and they must provide a full account of this and other cases where law enforcement has been used against the political opponents of (former) President Donald Trump," the official said.
Schiff has called on the DOJ's internal regulatory agency to investigate the Trump DOJ's actions in "these and other cases that suggest the arming of law enforcement by a corrupt president."
Trump "tried to use the ministry as a club against his political opponents and media representatives," Schiff said in a statement shortly after the report was published on Thursday evening. "It is becoming increasingly clear that these demands have not fallen on deaf ears."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Added Friday that Congress had approved the testimony of Jeff Sessions and William Barr, two former attorneys-general, who served under Trump.
"If they refuse, they will be summoned and forced to testify under oath," said Schumer and Durbin in a joint statement.
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The New York Times reported that in 2017 and early 2018, Trump's Department of Justice seized records of at least a dozen people associated with the House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence, including Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.
The agency also reportedly obtained data from the accounts of carers and family members, one of whom was a child.
Prosecutors in the DOJ, led by sessions at the time, were looking for sources of malicious news of contacts between Trump employees and Russia, the report said.
When Trump's prosecutors investigated the source of the leaks, they investigated the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, whose members have access to sensitive documents.
The investigation has not linked the House committee to the leaks – but Barr, after replacing Sessions, kept the investigation going, the Times reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump (left) speaks with William Barr, U.S. Attorney General, during the 38th annual National Peace Officers Memorial Day service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 15, 2019.
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According to the newspaper, Apple was silenced by a gag order that expired earlier this year. Apple did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on the Times report.
The Times article came weeks after reports that the Trump administration had secretly received records from journalists from several news outlets.
"The politicization of the ministry and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous attacks by the former president on our democracy," said Schiff in a statement.
"Although we were informed by the department in May that this investigation was closed, I believe further responses are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases related to the arming of law enforcement suggest corrupt president. "
Swalwell said in a statement Thursday evening that Apple had told him last month that his files had been turned over to the Trump administration "as part of a politically motivated investigation into his supposed enemies."
Swalwell said he supported Schiff's request for an investigation by the Inspector General of the Justice Department.
"Like many of the most despicable dictators in the world, former President Trump showed utter contempt for our democracy and the rule of law," a Swalwell statement said.
"This kind of behavior is unacceptable, but unfortunately, unfortunately, for a president who has shown repeatedly that he would put our constitution aside for his own benefit."
"The revelation that the Trump Justice Department secretly subpoenaed metadata from members and staff of the House Intelligence Committee and their families, including a minor, is shocking," Schumer and Durbin said in a joint statement on Friday.
“This is a gross abuse of power and an attack on the separation of powers. This appalling politicization of the Justice Department by Donald Trump and his flatterers must be investigated immediately by both the DOJ Inspector General and Congress, ”said the Senate leaders.
"Former Barr and Sessions attorneys general and other officials involved must testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If they refuse, they will be summoned and forced to testify under oath," said Schumer and Durbin.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Also joined calls for a full investigation, saying he plans to introduce laws to increase transparency and reform "abuse of gag orders".
"The current Justice Department needs to act with much greater urgency to both detect abuses and ensure full accountability of those responsible," said Wyden.
Read the full New York Times report.