Politics

Trump’s DOJ Reportedly Seized Democrat Phone Records During Leak Investigation

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) subpoenaed phone info from two House Democrats in an effort to plug leaks surrounding the Russia probe, The New York Times reported Thursday.

California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of whom sit on the House Intelligence Committee, were the targets of the subpoenas, which were approved by a grand jury in 2017 and 2018, according to The New York Times. Staffers and family members of the two congressmen were also subpoenaed, multiple sources alleged. The DOJ reportedly used a gag order to prevent Apple from alerting the congressmen that their phone records had been seized.

The subpoenas and gag orders reportedly began under Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the DOJ’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged interactions with Russian operatives. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump during the 2016 primaries and served as his national security adviser during the campaign. It is unclear who requested the subpoenas since Sessions was not involved in the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein led the probe.

The subpoenas were issued in the context of a larger probe into leaks surrounding the Russia investigation. AG William Barr reportedly continued the leak investigations when he was confirmed to the position in 2019. A key target of the investigation was the individual who leaked information about a meeting between incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition, The New York Times reported. That individual has not been identified

Kislyak also met twice with Sessions during the Trump campaign, although it is unclear whether those meetings were in the context of Sessions’ role as Trump advisor or his elected position as Alabama senator. Sessions also met with other regional ambassadors during the same time period, including Ukraine’s.

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