Jun 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Reports: Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for records of WH counsel Don McGahn

Former White House counsel Don McGahn leaves Capitol Hill after closed door meeting with the House Judiciary Committee on June 4, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Former White House counsel Don McGahn leaves Capitol Hill after a closed-door meeting with the House Judiciary Committee on June 4, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Apple told former Trump administration White House counsel Don McGahn last month that the Department of Justice secretly subpoenaed information about accounts of his in 2018, the New York Times first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Although it's unclear why the DOJ took the action, such a move against a senior lawyer representing the presidency is highly unusual.

  • "The pursuit was under a nondisclosure order until May, indicating the Justice Department went to a judge multiple times to keep it secret throughout former President Donald Trump's years in office," CNN notes.

Driving the news: Accounts belonging to McGahn's wife were also targeted in the action, per AP and other news outlets. The company didn't disclose what information it provided, according to the reports.

  • DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal probe into the department's Trump-era secret subpoenas against Apple for data belonging to House Democrats and its seizure of phone records of journalists working for major media companies.
  • AP notes that the other subpoenas were related to a crackdown on media leaks related to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The big picture: Apple said Friday it has tightened rules regarding legal requests following reports that the DOJ requested via a subpoena metadata on phone numbers and email addresses as part of a February 2018 investigation into lawmakers, staffers and their families.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on the use of subpoenas to access data records.
  • Republicans have, meanwhile, queried the DOJ's seizure of records of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and another lawyer, Victoria Toensing, the Washington Post reports.
  • Representatives for the DOJ and Apple did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.
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