Washington | The US Department of Justice seized from Apple during Donald Trump’s presidency data from two Democratic parliamentarians concerning the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee as well as their collaborators and members of their families, according to the “New York Times ”.
Summons to obtain the communication of these data targeted Adam Schiff, representative of California and at the time the main Democratic member of this commission which he currently chairs, reported Thursday the American daily.
These seizures came in 2017 and early 2018, as the ministry investigated leaks of classified information about contacts between the Trump administration and the Russian government, the newspaper continued.
Representative Eric Swalwell told CNN on Thursday that he was the second Democratic representative on the commission targeted. “I was notified (…) by Apple that they had entered my data. It’s wrong, ”he said.
According to the New York Times, prosecutors at the then-Jeff Sessions Department of Justice made unusual efforts to find the source of the leaks.
They targeted the data of parliamentarians as well as their staff and families, including a minor, because, according to the newspaper, they believed they were using the devices of their collaborators or children to mask contacts with journalists.
Finally, none of the data collected or other evidence allowed to link the parliamentarians or the intelligence committee to these leaks, specifies the daily. But the investigation was relaunched a year later by Justice Minister Bill Barr.
The Justice Department and Apple have yet to comment on this information.
Such data entry is rare outside of corruption investigations.
Mr. Schiff, without confirming that he was the target of the investigation, called for investigations by the Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice into “this and other cases that suggest an instrumentalization of law enforcement by a president corrupt ».
Mr. Trump “tried to use the ministry as a baton against political opponents and members of the media,” Schiff said in a statement. “It is increasingly clear that these requests have not fallen on deaf ears.”
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, also called for investigations, calling the “New York Times” article “appalling” in a statement. For her, “these actions seem to be a new flagrant assault on our democracy launched by the former president”.
The Justice Department had imposed a nondisclosure directive on Apple, which expired this year, and lawmakers were not aware of the investigations until the IT group notified them last month, according to the ” New York Times ”.