Justice Department subpoenas for Democrats’ data go beyond Richard Nixon

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly press conference at the United States Capitol in Washington on May 13, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

The informed decision by Trump’s Justice Department to subpoena tech companies to obtain account data from US lawmakers was a step that “goes even beyond Richard Nixon,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” on Sunday.

“Richard Nixon had a list of enemies,” Pelosi said. “It’s about undermining the rule of law.”

The New York Times reported Thursday that the former president’s Justice Department in 2017 and 2018 subpoenaed Apple for information on the accounts of at least a dozen people linked to the House Intelligence Committee, including two Democratic lawmakers: the President Adam Schiff, Democrat of California. ., and Rep. Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California. Microsoft acknowledged on Friday that it had received a similar request.

The investigation reportedly sought the source of the leaks regarding contact between Trump’s associates and Russia. A gag order prevented Apple and Microsoft from initially notifying the owners of the affected accounts of the subpoenas, the companies said. Apple said it was unaware that the investigation involved legislators’ metadata when it complied.

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog said it would investigate the investigation. While that step is important, Pelosi said, “it is not a substitute for what we need to do in Congress,” adding that it would ensure a review of the situation in the House.

Pelosi expressed disbelief at claims by former attorneys general Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions that they were unaware of the lawmakers’ investigations. She said they must testify under oath, though she did not say whether she would cite their testimony if they did not willingly obey.

“How is it possible that there is an investigation of members of the other branch of government and the press and the rest as well and the attorneys general did not know?” she said. “So who are these people and are they still in the Justice Department?”

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