Rep. Adam Schiff urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to “clean house” after it was revealed that Trump officials subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
In an interview with MSNBC, the House Intelligence Committee chairman said the attorney general has to “make sure there’s accountability” for those in the Department of Justice who were involved in “partisan investigations” under Trump.
He added that congressional committees also need to investigate the Trump administration’s attempts to probe the Apple data of political rivals, but said he didn’t think he’d have “a role in that” as he was the subject of one subpoena.
Speaking to Rachel Maddow on Thursday night, Schiff said: “I think that the attorney general has an obligation to clean house, to essentially understand what the department was doing the last four years, make sure there’s accountability for those that were engaged in political and partisan investigations within the department.
“In terms of the oversight by Congress, I don’t think I have a role in that, given that some of my records are apparently the subject of subpoena. But, I think other committees as part of their oversight responsibilities ought to ask the attorney general and others.
“And I do think the department needs to do a wholesale review of the politicization of these cases over the past four years.”
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Trump officials subpoenaed Apple for the account data of Reps. Schiff and Eric Swalwell of California, as well as their family members and political aides.
Prosecutors seized the data of at least a dozen people in 2017 and early 2018, the Times reported, adding that one of those who was caught up in the subpoena probe was a minor. Trump officials were said to be hunting for the source of a story about contacts between the president’s allies and Russia.
The Department of Justice also placed a gag order on Apple to stop it disclosing details of the subpoenas. The order expired last month, when the lawmakers were told that they were under investigation, according to the Times.
Details of the subpoenas emerged less than a week after the Biden administration announced it was stopping the practice of secretly obtaining journalists’ records during leak probes.
“The department strongly values a free press, protecting First Amendment values, and is committed to taking all appropriate steps to ensure the independence of journalists,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said at the time.
President Biden said the tactic of harvesting reporters’ data was “simply, simply wrong” last month, and promised that his administration would stop the practice. Newsweek has contacted the Department of Justice for further comment.
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