© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former United States President Donald Trump pauses while speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention Dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, United States, on June 5, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Drake
By Mark pants ball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US Department of Justice’s internal watchdog will investigate the department’s efforts during the administration of former President Donald Trump to seize communications data from Democrats in the US House of Representatives. UU., Confirmed the watchdog.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office was beginning a review of “the department’s use of subpoenas and other legal authorities to obtain communication records from members of Congress and affiliated persons, and the media regarding with recent investigations of alleged unauthorized disclosures of information to the media by government officials. “
Horowitz said in a statement that its review “will examine the Department’s compliance with applicable Department of Justice policies and procedures, and whether those uses, or investigations, were based on inappropriate considerations.” He said his investigation could be expanded if “other unspecified issues” arise during the investigation.
The inspector general announced his review after Senate Democrats on Friday demanded that two former U.S. attorneys general testify about subpoenas of records of members of Congress by Trump’s Justice Department. A White House official criticized the Trump administration’s actions as “appalling.”
The Trump Justice Department subpoenaed Apple Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 to obtain account data for at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in an attempt to find out who was behind the leaks of classified information, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Congressional officials said committee chair Adam Schiff and committee member Eric Swalwell are the only lawmakers whose data has been confirmed to be cited by the Trump Justice Department.
“President Trump repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice comply with his political will and tried to use the Department as a club against his political opponents and members of the media,” Schiff said in a statement Thursday calling for a inspector. general inquiry.
Swalwell confirmed in an interview with MSNBC that his Apple data was seized. Swalwell said he feared that if Trump were re-elected president, “he could just bypass the Justice Department and its processes and simply order his lieutenants to lock up their political opponents.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Dick Durbin said Trump-era attorneys general Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions should be subpoenaed if necessary to force them to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. on the secret seizure of data, calling it “serious abuse of power”. “
Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, said the alleged Justice Department activity illustrates the kind of abuse of power in the previous administration that led Democratic President Joe Biden to run against Republican Trump.
Biden has gone to great lengths to mark the independence of the Justice Department, saying it serves the people, not the president.
On Friday, Barr told Politico that while running the Justice Department “he was not aware of any records of any congressman being sought in a leak case.”
Apple said Friday it received a subpoena in February 2018 seeking customer information for 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, not all of which were Apple customers.
Apple said the subpoena, which came with a gag order from a federal judge, “did not provide information on the nature of the investigation and it would have been virtually impossible for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without searching user accounts. “. “
Apple said it limited the information it provided to account subscriber information and metadata, and did not provide any content such as emails or images in response to the Justice Department subpoena.
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