WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Thursday night that the Trump Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed personal records of people tied to his panel.
Lauren French, a spokeswoman for the panel, said material tied to Schiff himself “was included in the subpoenas” for metadata.
Schiff, a California Democrat who enraged President Donald Trump with congressional investigations of his administration, released a statement after The New York Times reported that the department had seized his records and those of several other people in an attempt to track down leaks that had led to articles about Trump’s circle and Russia.
The Times said that the inquiry began under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and was revived under Bill Barr. The paper said that Apple Inc. had been subpoenaed regarding the accounts of at least two Democrats on the panel and relatives.
Schiff, who did not mention in the statement whether his own records had been seized, said that while “we were informed by the department in May that this investigation is closed,” more answers were needed. He called on the department’s inspector general to “investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.”
French said he become aware of the subpoenas in May, adding that he is unaware of whether he was a target of the investigation, but that the committee itself was.
“President Trump repeatedly and flagrantly demanded that the Department of Justice carry out his political will, and tried to use the Department as a cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media,” Schiff said in the statement. “It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a separate statement that she supports Schiff’s call for an investigation into the report that the Trump administration sought account metadata of House Intelligence Committee Members and staff and their families.
She called the news harrowing, and that “these actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president.”
A senior Intelligence Committee Democrat, Mike Quigley of Illinois, said in an interview that he had never been briefed about the Justice Department targeting of individuals associated with the committee — and was never aware of it.