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Washington has been served up an unprecedented controversy, and now officials from two branches of government are rushing to get a piece of the scandal spoils.

Driving the news: In the spotlight... the Trump-era Justice Department, which seized records from journalists and House Democrats during a leaks investigation over stories about the Russia probe.

  • Now Senate Democrats and the Biden-era Justice Department inspector general are separately launching investigations.

Back in 2017 and 2018, the DOJ obtained a gag order against Apple and subpoenaed the company to hand over data belonging to a dozen people linked to the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: "While Justice Department leak investigations are routine, current and former congressional officials familiar with the inquiry said they could not recall an instance in which the records of lawmakers had been seized as part of one," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • The seized records contained no proof of leaks.

Michael Schmidt, one of four reporters on the N.Y. Times blockbuster, told "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on MSNBC:

"This is the first instance we know the Justice Department has done this. There could have been other leak investigations. We don't have full visibility into all of them. Those are conducted in secret.""Regardless of what went into the Justice Department's decision here, this is exactly what [then-President Trump] was calling for publicly and privately at a time that he was putting as much pressure as possible on the folks at the top of the department."

The bottom line: The slow drip, drip of stories has now turned into the potential big story of the summer.

Go deeper

DOJ limits use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaking at a press conference. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that would scale back federal law enforcement agencies' use of chokeholds and "no-knock" search warrants.

Why it matters: The federal policy overhaul comes as the Justice Department pursues investigations of misconduct in police departments across the country.

Biden says he'll make Supreme Court pick by end of February

President Biden speaks on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday said he will announce the nominee for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's replacement by the end of February.

Driving the news: Biden also affirmed that he will nominate a Black woman to replace Breyer, saying "it's long overdue."

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."