Washington – The Democratic leaders of the United States Congress promised this Sunday to investigate the seizure of metadata of progressive congressmen by the Department of Justice during the administration of President Donald Trump (2017-2021).
Both the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, Chuch Schumer, announced that they will try to get answers from those who were responsible for the Department of Justice under Trump, Jeff Sessions and William Barr.
“Under President Trump, the Justice Department broke the rules in many ways,” Pelosi said during an interview with CNN.
Pelosi was referring to the revelation in various media outlets that the Justice Department under Trump allegedly required and seized metadata of progressive representatives in Congress from the Apple company, in order to investigate the leaks to the press about Russia.
The congressional investigation will take place in parallel to another internal investigation that has been initiated by the inspector general of the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, to determ ine if that agency – which must act independently of the White House – was carried away by partisan considerations.
The seizure of metadata affected the chairman of the House Intelligence committee, Democrat Adam Schiff, the congressman of the same party Eric Swalwell and relatives of the legislators, including a minor.
In addition, as reported this Sunday by the newspaper “The New York Times”, the Department of Justice demanded in February 2018 Apple to provide data on the accounts of the then-White House lawyer, Don McGahn, and his wife .
It is not clear what the Justice Department was looking for McGahn’s data for, which did not know about the matter until Apple informed it about it last month, because the government had prevented the company from disclosing those orders to the White House lawyer. .
It was on the same date, in February 2018, when the Department of Justice, then under Jeff Sessions, required from Apple the metadata of the Democratic congressmen through a secret order, which was renewed three times until expire this 2021.
The objective of the Trump administration was to investigate where the abundant leaks to the media about the contacts of the then president’s environment with the Kremlin came from.
According to “The New York Times”, the mechanism used by the Trump administration to investigate the leaks has no known precedents that have affected congressmen.
As part of the same investigation, the department led by Sessions also requested information from journalists to try to find out their sources, as recently reported by CNN and the newspapers “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post”.
The Lower House Intelligence Committee, headed by Schiff, was one of those that led the investigations into Trump’s alleged ties to the Kremlin and later into his contacts with Ukraine, which led to the first impeachment trial. against him.