House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called subpoenas issued by the Department of Justice under former President Donald Trump targeting data from Democratic lawmakers a “blatant attack” on American democracy .
The New York Times and subsequently, the Associated Press reported that under Trump, the department seized data from the Apple accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. The two lawmakers were Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
In issuing a statement Thursday night, Pelosi called the actions “heartbreaking” and backed calls for an investigation into the matter.
She said transparency was “essential” because she also accused Trump of arming law enforcement against his political opponents.
“Recently, it became public knowledge that the Trump administration has searched for account metadata of House Intelligence Committee members and staff and their families,” the statement read.
“The news regarding the politicization of the Trump administration’s justice department is heartbreaking. These actions appear to be another blatant attack on our democracy led by the former president.
“I support the call of the chairman of the intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, for an investigation into this situation and other acts of militarization of law enforcement by the former president. Transparency is essential.”
The New York Times on Thursday revealed that Justice Department officials subpoenaed Apple for the account’s data in late 2017 and early 2018.
Trump-era officials also reportedly searched for account data of political advisers and even family members, including a minor. The subpoenas were reportedly issued as part of an investigation into leaks around Trump allies meeting with Russians.
The Justice Department hit Apple with a gag order that prevented them from telling those who had been subpoenaed that they were under investigation, until the gag order expired on last month.
Representative Schiff told MSNBC that Attorney General Merrick Garland needed to “clean the house” after the details of the subpoena were revealed.
Speaking to Rachel Maddow on Thursday night, the California Democrat said: “I think the attorney general has an obligation to clean up, to basically understand what the department has been doing over the past four years, to s’ ensure that there is accountability for those who were engaged in political and partisan investigations within the ministry.
He later called for a congressional investigation into the subpoenas, but added that he would not be part of any investigation because he was the subject of at least one subpoena.
“But, I think other committees as part of their oversight responsibilities should ask the attorney general and others,” he added.
News week has contacted President Pelosi’s office, former President Trump’s office and the Justice Department for comment.