Following Thursday’s reports, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco has called for an investigation into the subpoenas served on Apple for phone records of House Democrats.
Monaco has reportedly asked the Justice Department’s inspector general to probe the seizing of phone records, MSNBC reported Friday. Although it isn’t clear when that request was sent, Justice Department officials have confirmed that the department’s internal watchdog will be looking into the subpoenas.
Additionally, top Senate Democrats demanded that two former U.S. attorneys general under Donald Trump testify about the subpoenas. A White House official called the actions by the Trump Administration “appalling,” according to Reuters.
The news comes about a day after revelations that Trump’s Justice Department in 2018 subpoenaed Apple for data on two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as their aides and families. According to The New York Times, Apple handed over phone metadata and “other account information,” but no emails, photos, or other content.
At the time, the Justice Department also subjected Apple to a gag order that prevented it from alerting the Democratic lawmakers that they were being investigated. The gag order expired in May 2021.
Trump’s Justice Department was investigating the leaks of classified information to the press. Specifically, it sought the sources behind media reports that certain Trump associates were in contact with Russia.
Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department also secured subpoenas for records belonging to reporters. Under Justice Department policy, that’s an avenue that the department can only take if it has exhausted all other options.
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