Senate demands former AGs testify about Trump data seizure | News – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia 2021-06-11 12:16:00 –

Washington (AP) — Senate Democratic leaders have demanded that Trump-era Attorney General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions testify in 2018 about the secret seizure of data from the Senate Democratic Party. We call it “shocking” and “extreme abuse of power.”

Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Illinois. Senator Dick Durbin said in a statement on Friday that Bar and the session “must testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee” and would be subject to a subpoena if refused.

Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell said three years ago that the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump was part of an aggressive crackdown on leaks related to Russian investigations and other national security issues. I received a request after being informed by Apple that I had seized the metadata. It is according to three people who are familiar with seizures.

Schiff and Swolwell were then members of the House Intelligence Committee — Schiff is now chairman.

The Department of Justice routinely investigates leaked information, including confidential information, but it is extremely rare to disclose such investigations to members of parliament. Disclosure reveals that one department of government is using the power of investigation and prosecution to spy on another.

Mr Schiff said the seizure suggested “weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.”

Trump’s Justice Department prosecutor has summoned Apple for the data, said committee officials and two others with internal knowledge. The records of at least 12 people connected to the Intelligence Panel were eventually shared by the company.

The committee staff and the other two who knew about the foreclosure of the data were able to talk anonymously.

Apple notified the commission last month that the record was shared and the investigation was completed, but did not provide details. Records of aides, former aides, and family members were also confiscated, one of whom was a minor, according to Commission officials.

According to one, the Justice Department got the metadata (probably a call, text, location record), but not any other content from the device, such as photos, messages, emails, etc. Another said Apple had complied with the subpoena, provided information to the Justice Department, and did not immediately notify lawmakers or committees of its disclosure.

The secret seizure was first reported by the New York Times.

The Trump administration secretly tried to access the data because the president was smoking publicly and privately about Congress and its then special adviser Robert Mueller’s investigation into the relationship with Russia’s campaign.

Mr. Trump called the probe a “witch hunt,” regularly criticizing Democrats and Mr. Mueller on Twitter, and repeatedly dismissing “fake news” leaks as harmful to his agenda. As his personal law firm.

Schiff and Swolwell are two of the committee’s most prominent Democrats, led by the Republicans during a Russian investigation. Both California lawmakers frequently appeared on cable news. Trump, if not relentlessly, closely watched those channels and monitored the press.

In a statement late Thursday, Schiff called for an inspector general of the Justice Department to investigate the seizures.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Caliph, said in a statement that the seizure of data “seems to be yet another terrible attack on our democracy” made by the former president.

“The news about the politicization of the Trump administration’s Justice Department is disastrous,” she said.

Commission officials said the Commission continued to seek additional information, but the Justice Department announced questions such as whether the investigation was properly predicted and whether it focused solely on the Democratic Party. Said not.

It’s unclear why Trump’s Justice Department targeted minors as part of the investigation. Swolwell confirmed that his record had been confiscated and was aware that a minor was involved in CNN on Thursday night, who said he was “legally unreasonable.” He was punitively targeted. “

“You wouldn’t be surprised” if the department was chasing other members on Friday at CNN. He said an internal investigation by the Justice Department could find it. The Senate Intelligence Committee was not a similar target, according to a fourth person who recognized the investigation and acknowledged anonymity to discuss it.

There is no sign that the Justice Department has used the records to prosecute anyone. After some information was declassified and released in the later years of the Trump administration, some prosecutors were convicted, even if they could cause a leak, as it was difficult to attempt. I was worried that it wouldn’t be the case. People said.

Federal agents questioned at least one former commissioner in 2020, he said, and in the end the prosecutor was unable to substantiate the case.

News follows the exposure secretly held by the Justice Department Seized phone records belonging to reporters As part of a crime leak investigation at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN. In response to a protest from a free press group The Justice Ministry announced last week It would stop the practice of chasing journalists’ procurement information.


The Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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