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In the end, the data did not link the committee to the leaks, and there were discussions about terminating the investigation, the report said. But a year later, after becoming Attorney General, William Barr revived the investigation and switched staff to work on the Schiff case.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell confirmed Thursday that he was the second committee Democrat whose files were confiscated and told CNN that he had been notified by Apple.
“We saw this through Donald Trump’s Justice Department, be it the reason he was charged with trying to crack down on Vice President Biden at the time, or just some other effort, you know, through the Mueller investigation,” said Swalwell. “And I support Chairman Schiff’s request for the Inspector General to report not only on this behavior, but also on other corrupt behavior by Donald Trump and those who worked for him.”
When Maddow asked Schiff on Thursday whether Congress should also investigate the division’s seizure of the files, Schiff said it should, adding that Attorney General Merrick Garland would be questioned on the matter. He said he should not play a role in the investigation himself as his files were subpoenaed, but said other committees in Congress could oversee it.
As for Garland’s role, Schiff said the current attorney general had a responsibility to “clean the house” and that it would take at least a decade for the department to recover from politicization.
“I think the Attorney General has a duty to clean up the house, essentially understanding exactly what the department has been doing for the past four years – ensuring that there is accountability for those involved in political and partisan investigations within the Department were involved, ”said Schiff.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi supported Schiff’s call for an investigation and called the Times report “harrowing.”
“These actions appear to be another egregious attack by the former president on our democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement. “I support the call by the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, for an investigation into this situation and other acts of arming the law enforcement agencies by the former president. Transparency is essential. “
The metadata seizure, if confirmed, would show how eager Trump administration officials were to identify and trace the sources. The Justice Department is said to have issued an arrest warrant against Apple, just as it did when investigating news organizations. Legislators only learned they were under investigation last month when the gag order expired and Apple notified them of the seizure, according to the Times report.
Schiff said the division’s move, while unprecedented, was a “patent abuse” and “another example of the president’s politicization” of the division.
“We are obviously deeply suspicious of what the Justice Department did,” he said. “More than that, it looks like the department’s patent has been abused. Another example of the President politicizing and using the Justice Department as a club to track down his enemies. He kept attacking our committee, attacking me personally, requesting an investigation from our committee while we were conducting an investigation against him. “
He added, “And apparently these requests were received by a receptive audience at the top level of the Justice Department.”
Schiff also said Thursday it was still unclear how many members the subpoenas were aimed at and whether only the Democrats’ files were confiscated. He said they would learn more in the coming days when members of the committee re-checked old email for the notification from Apple – an email members and staff believed was spam, Schiff said.