(CNN)The Justice Department’s inspector general will investigate the department’s handling of a leak investigation into former President Donald Trump’s political enemies that included a subpoena to collect metadata of lawmakers, staff and some family members, the office announced Friday.
The request comes as House Intelligence Committee Democrats held a briefing led by Chairman Adam Schiff. A source said that members were ‘animated’ in trying to figure out who at the Justice Department and in the Trump administration were behind the effort to seize their records.
The activity follows the bombshell revelation that prosecutors in the Trump administration Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of House Intelligence Committee Democrats along with their staff and family members as part of a leak investigation.
The prosecutors were looking for the sources behind news stories about contacts between Russia and Trump associates.
The Justice Department in 2018 demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses from Apple, the company said Friday night. While Apple says it would have normally informed customers, a nondisclosure order prevented them from doing so in this case, the company said. Also Friday night, Microsoft said it received a subpoena in 2017 related to a congressional staffer’s personal email account, which was also subject to a gag order.
Schumer and Durbin call for former attorneys general to testify
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin are calling for former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify on the matter.
“If they refuse, they are subject to being subpoenaed and compelled to testify under oath,” the Democrats said in a statement.
“This issue should not be partisan; under the Constitution, Congress is a co-equal branch of government and must be protected from an overreaching executive, and we expect that our Republican colleagues will join us in getting to the bottom of this serious matter,” Schumer and Durbin said.
But a Senate aide explained that Democrats would need the support of at least one Republican on the evenly divided Judiciary Committee to approve any subpoenas.
Very few Republicans have so far spoken up about the news of the Trump Justice Department probe into the House Democrats, and whether they will back any effort to bring the two former attorneys general to testify before the Senate.
House Democrats, however, can issue subpoenas without the consent of the GOP.
“We expect the Department to provide a full accounting of these cases, and we expect the Attorney General to hold the relevant personnel accountable for their conduct,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler said in a statement Friday. “If the Department does not make substantial progress towards these two goals, then we on the Judiciary Committee will have no choice but to step in and do the work ourselves.”
Democrats to ask Apple to determine if additional members were targeted by DOJ
Intelligence Committee Democrats plan to ask Apple to look into whether additional members were targeted by the Trump Justice Department, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The members are providing staff with all of their different numbers and accounts and the staff will ask Apple to provide information back about whether they were subjects of a DOJ subpoena.
There were generic “Apple notices” sent to members whose records were seized sent on May 5, the source said. But members are concerned those generic emails could have been ignored, deleted or swept up into their spam folders.
Barr says Trump didn’t direct him to target lawmakers
Barr does not recall the specifics of a leaks probe of the lawmakers, according to a person familiar with the matter. And Barr denied knowledge of the moves in an interview with Politico on Friday.
The person said cases that the attorney general weighed in on had been recommended by career officials in the criminal division and elsewhere in the department. The former attorney general did not brief T
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