The Trump Administration subpoenaed communications records for two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, their aides and their families in order to try to identify people who were reportedly leaking classified information, the New York Times reports.
The Trump Justice Department, then led by Jeff Sessions, subpoenaed Apple for information on calls and text messages for the two members, one of whom was California Democrat Adam Schiff, then the minority ranking member of the committee and now the committee’s chairman. One of the people whose records were subpoenaed was a minor.
While Trump has complained repeatedly that the “Deep State” was spying on him and his family, it appears that Trump was actually using the apparatus of the federal government to spy on his political opponents, including those who were investigating Trump’s connections to Russia during the 2016 election.
In total, the communications records for at least a dozen people were seized by the Trump Justice Department in 2017 and 2018.
It’s public knowledge that information was being leaked from the committee. Then Committee chair California Republican Devin Nunes was reportedly providing information submitted to the committee from various investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election to the White House. This included a March 2017 leap out of an Uber ride to go to the White House in the wake of the firing of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who had lied to law enforcement and White House staff about communications with Russia during the transition.
The Trump Justice Department got metadata from Apple for the two members of Congress and their associates. Later, under Attorney General Bill Barr, the DOJ would seek communications records, including cell phone records and emails, from journalists working for CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.