The statement from Schumer and Durbin is in response to reports Thursday night that the Justice Department in 2018 secretly subpoenaed Apple for the data of two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), as well as the data of their current and former staffers and family members. Biden's Justice Department revealed the subpoenas and gag orders to the press this week.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and California Rep. Eric Swalwell were notified last month that Trump's Justice Department had seized their metadata from Apple three years ago as part of the leaks probe related to the Russian Federation investigation and other national security matters.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in a statement said the pursuit of the phone records was "a direct attack on the separation of powers and Congressional independence" and called for an investigation of Sessions and Barr.
The Justice Department and Apple are yet to comment on the report. So declared then-President Trump in 2018, notes Matt Stieb at NY. It did not name any other member of the House beside Schiff. Trump was ultimately impeached by the House as a result of that investigation. "These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy waged by the former president".
The committee asked the Justice Department for more details and was informed last month that the matter had been closed, the official said.
"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", Schiff said.
The Justice Department officials targeted electronic data not only of the lawmakers, but that of their staff and families, possibly targeting a minor because investigators thought the lawmakers were using their associates' or children's devices to hide contacts with journalists.
The committee has continued to seek additional information, but the Justice Department has not been forthcoming in a timely manner, including on questions such as whether the investigation was properly predicated and whether it targeted only Democrats. Swalwell, confirming that he was told his records were seized, told CNN Thursday evening that he was aware a minor was involved and "I believe they were targeted punitively and not for any reason in law".
"The news about the politicization of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing", she said.
The Times writes that the DOJ routinely investigates leaks, but it was "extraordinary" for the DOJ to subpoena "communications metadata from members of Congress - a almost unheard-of move outside of corruptions investigations". But it also makes the Department of Justice just a fully owned subsidiary of the president's personal legal interests and political interests.
The Justice Department also seized Apple data from the accounts of committee aides and family members, the Times said. The subpoena was part of an effort to find the source of leaks of classified information in the early years of the Trump administration.