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Schiff reacts to DOJ subpoena: Shocked … but not surprised

<i>Samuel Corum/Getty Images</i><br/>
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Samuel Corum/Getty Images

By Manu Raju, Evan Perez and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Prosecutors in the Trump administration Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of House Intelligence Committee Democrats — including Chairman Adam Schiff — along with their staff and family members as part of a leak investigation, an Intelligence Committee official and a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

The prosecutors, the New York Times first reported, were looking for the sources behind news stories about contacts between Russia and Trump associates.

Those subject to subpoenas were notified in May by Apple that the Justice Department had issued grand jury subpoenas in February 2018 for their information, the House Intel committee official said.

“The Committee has continued to seek additional information, but the Department has not been forthcoming in a timely manner, including on questions such as whether the investigation was properly predicated and whether it only targeted Democrats,” the committee official told CNN.

News of the subpoenas marks just the latest disclosure about the Trump administration’s heavy-handed tactics toward leak investigations. The development follows a series of revelations about the Justice Department secretly obtaining records from journalists, including CNN’s Barbara Starr, as well as reporters from The Washington Post and other news organizations.

And while the data didn’t tie the committee to the leaks during then-attorney general Jeff Sessions’ tenure, William Barr moved a prosecutor from New Jersey to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and others when he became attorney general the following year, three people with knowledge of his work told the Times.

A spokesperson for Justice Department, a representative for Apple and Barr declined to comment to the Times.

In a statement Thursday evening, Schiff said, “The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former President. Though we were informed by the Department in May that this investigation is closed, I believe more answers are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponization of law enforcement by a corrupt president.”

That message was echoed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called the development “harrowing.”

“These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“I support Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s call for an investigation into this situation and other acts of the weaponization of law enforcement by the former president. Transparency is essential.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

CNN’s Katie Bo Williams and Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.

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