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Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Photo: Tom Williams / Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called for an inspector general investigation into Donald Trump's "weaponization of law enforcement," after the New York Times reported the Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data from the congressman's account.

Driving the news: At least a dozen people linked to the Intelligence Committee had records seized between 2017 and early 2018, including Schiff, who at the time was the panel's top Democrat and now serves as its chairman, The Times reported, citing people briefed on the inquiry.

Why it matters: The revelation comes alongside recent disclosures that the Trump administration secretly seized the phone records of CNN, Washington Post and New York Times reporters.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Schiff's call for an investigation.
  • "These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president," she said in a statement.

The state of play: Justice Department prosecutors, under then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were looking for the sources behind leaks describing contacts between associates of former President Trump and Russia.

  • "Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry," The Times writes.
  • "The zeal in the Trump administration’s efforts to hunt leakers led to the extraordinary step of subpoenaing communications metadata from members of Congress — a nearly unheard-of move outside of corruption investigations," the newspaper adds.
  • Apple turned over metadata and account information, per the Times.

The DOJ obtained a gag order on Apple that expired earlier this year, a person familiar with the inquiry told the Times, so lawmakers were unaware of the investigation until the tech giant informed them in May.

What they're saying: "President Trump repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will, and tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media," Schiff wrote in a statement following the Times' Thursday night report.

  • "It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears. The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former President," he said.
  • "Though we were informed by the Department in May that this investigation is closed, I believe more answers are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.”
  • The Justice Department declined to comment.

Go deeper

Trump voices support for Saturday's pro-Capitol riots rally

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Thursday expressed solidarity with people facing prosecution in connection to the Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: The statement was issued ahead of Saturday's rally to protest the treatment of Capitol rioters. Over 600 known federal defendants face charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Updated Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon approves request for 100 National Guard troops for "Justice for J6" rally

Security fencing has been reinstalled around the Capitol. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from Capitol Police to provide 100 D.C. National Guard troops in case law enforcement requires additional support at Saturday's "Justice for J6" rally at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Security preparations have ramped up ahead of the pro-Trump demonstration, where hundreds of protesters sympathetic to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack are expected to gather.

Updated 35 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.