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Photo: James Devaney via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee will launch a formal probe into the Trump-era Justice Department's seizure of data from devices belonging to members of Congress, their aides, journalists and then-White House counsel, panel chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's so far unclear if the cases are related, they raise "serious constitutional and separation of power concerns," Nadler said in a statement.

  • The DOJ's inspector general announced his own investigation last week.

State of play: Apple told former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn last month that the Department of Justice secretly subpoenaed information about accounts of his in 2018.

What they're saying: It is possible that "these cases are merely our first glimpse into a coordinated effort by the Trump Administration to target President Trump’s political opposition," Nadler said.

  • "If so, we must learn the full extent of this gross abuse of power, root out the individuals responsible, and hold those individuals accountable for their actions."
  • "Congress must make it extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for the Department to spy on the Congress or the news media," he added. "We should make it hard for prosecutors to hide behind secret gag orders for years at a time.  We cannot rely on the Department alone to make these changes."

The big picture: Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday that he has directed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to "evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records" from members of Congress. 

  • Media executives from CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times met with Garland to discuss DOJ seizures.

Go deeper: Trump-era Justice Department emerges as scandal of the summer

Go deeper

Garland says DOJ will strengthen rules on obtaining lawmakers' records

Photo: Tom Brenner-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday he has directed Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco to "evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records" from members of Congress.

Why it matters: At Garland's direction, the Justice Department's inspector general has opened an investigation into the Trump-era DOJ's use of secret subpoenas to obtain data belonging to House Democrats.

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 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.

Pelosi demands Barr and Sessions testify on data subpoenas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an event San Francisco, California, on Friday. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on reports that the Trump-era Department of Justice seized Democrats' and journalists' data records.

Driving the news: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal investigation into the matter, and Pelosi expressed disbelief to CNN's Dana Bash at assertions that neither Barr nor Sessions knew of probes into lawmakers.