Apple says it didn’t share pictures or emails from lawmakers’ phones with Trump DOJ under subpoenas seeking to unmask leakers

President Donald Trump sits at a table with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
President Donald Trump meets with members of his American Technology Council, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, on June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

  • Apple revealed new details about the Trump DOJ’s subpoena targeting House Intel Committee lawmakers.
  • It told TechCrunch the subpoena included a gag order and “no information” on the DOJ’s inquiry.
  • Apple said it gave “account subscriber information” and no content, “such as emails or pictures.”
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Apple on Friday revealed additional detail about subpoenas it received from the Trump administration’s Department of Justice seeking data about members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Apple told TechCrunch reporter Zack Whittaker the DOJ’s subpoenas sought metadata about 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, but that it only disclosed “account subscriber information and did not provide any content such as emails or pictures.”

Apple also told TechCrunch the subpoena was issued by a federal grand jury, included a gag order signed by a federal magistrate judge, and “provided no information on the nature of the investigation,” making it “virtually impossible for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without digging through users’ accounts.”

“We regularly challenge warrants, subpoenas and nondisclosure orders and have made it our policy to inform affected customers of governmental requests about them as soon as possible,” Apple added, implying the gag order prevented it from informing lawmakers targeted by the subpoenas until recently.

The highly unusual subpoenas issued by the Trump-era DOJ sought data from Apple on at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as aides, family members, and even one minor, with the goal of hunting down sources behind news reports about connections between Trump associates and Russia, The New York Times reported this week.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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Trump’s Justice Department targeted Democrats in Congress in search for source of leaks related to the Russia investigation, New York Times reports

adam schiff House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff holds a press conference after the House passed Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald J. Trump, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 18, 2019. - The US House of Representatives voted 229-198 on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for obstruction of Congress. The House impeached Trump for abuse of power by a 230-197 vote. The 45th US president is just the third occupant of the White House in US history to be impeached. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Rep. Adam Schiff chairs the House intelligence committee.

  • Trump’s Justice Department seized records from Apple that belonged to Democrats in Congress.
  • Members of the House Intel Committee, including Rep. Adam Schiff, were targeted, along with their families and staffers.
  • The DOJ was looking for the source of leaks regarding the Russia investigation.
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While searching for the source of leaked intelligence regarding the Russia investigation, Trump’s Justice Department seized records from Apple belonging to Democrats in Congress, The New York Times reported Thursday.

A grand jury subpoenaed Apple for communications data belonging to people surrounding the House Intelligence Committee. A source told The Times that Apple delivered metadata and account information, but not emails, photos, or other content.

The records belonged to members of the House Intelligence Committee, including Rep. Adam Schiff of California, as well as their staffers and families, including one minor, The Times reported, and records of at least 12 people were obtained in 2017 and 2018.

Schiff served as the committee’s ranking member at the time. He now serves as chairman.

The Times reported that officials were looking for the source of leaked information concerning Trump allies’ communications with Russia, but that the records did not connect the leaks to the committee.

The probe into the records began under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and was revived under his successor, Bill Barr, sources told The Times.

The department also successfully restricted Apple from making their records requests public, so the targeted lawmakers were unaware they were being examined until Apple informed them last month after the gag order expired.

In a statement provided to Insider, Schiff blasted former President Donald Trump for targeting committee members and called for an investigation.

“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,” he 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.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the revelation “harrowing” and also called for an investigation.

A representative for Apple declined to comment, The Times said.

The news comes on the heels of recent disclosures that the Justice Department sought the records of journalists at The Times, The Washington Post, and CNN in an attempt to identify their sources, a move that was widely panned by press freedom advocates, but that has been used in past administrations as well.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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Rep. Adam Schiff says it is ‘critical’ for US to finish probe of COVID-19 origins to avoid ‘any premature or politically-motivated conclusions’

adam schiff House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff holds a press conference after the House passed Resolution 755, Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald J. Trump, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 18, 2019. - The US House of Representatives voted 229-198 on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for obstruction of Congress. The House impeached Trump for abuse of power by a 230-197 vote. The 45th US president is just the third occupant of the White House in US history to be impeached. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Rep. Adam Schiff chairs the House intelligence committee.

  • Rep. Adam Schiff said it is “critical” to allow the IC to complete its probe of COVID-19 origins.
  • President Biden said Wednesday he gave the intelligence community 90 days to further probe COVID-19’s origins.
  • Schiff said the IC continues to investigate the “two most likely scenarios” – animal to human transmission or a possible lab leak.
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Rep. Adam Schiff said Wednesday it is “critical” for the US to finish its investigation into the origins of COVID-19 to “avoid any premature or politically-motivated conclusions.”

Schiff’s remarks came in response to President Joe Biden announcing a 90-day deadline for the intelligence community to further probe the veracity of the coronavirus originating from a possible lab leak.

Schiff, who serves as House Intelligence Committee Chair, said in a statement that the Committee was tasked with taking a “deep dive” into what the intelligence community has collected thus far about the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on “the emergence and spread of COVID-19 from China.”

He said the intelligence community continues to investigate the “two most likely scenarios” for the origins of COVID-19 – natural transmission of the virus from animal to human or a possible lab accident – but the IC “has not reached a community consensus.”

“Beijing’s continued obstruction of a transparent, comprehensive examination of the relevant facts and about the source of the coronavirus can only delay the vital work necessary to help the world better prepare itself before the next potential pandemic,” Schiff said in the statement, adding that the intelligence community will provide relevant updates per Biden’s 90-day deadline.

“It is critical that we allow the IC, and other scientific and medical experts, to objectively weigh and assess all available facts, and to avoid any premature or politically-motivated conclusions,” he continued.

In a press conference Wednesday, Biden revealed he had asked the intelligence community to probe the origins of COVID-19 in March, but the results of the investigation were not extensive enough to conclude either scenario “more likely than the other.”

The investigation launched by the Biden administration came around the same time Biden’s team terminated a Trump-era probe to prove COVID-19 originated in a lab, per a CNN report published Wednesday. A source familiar with the move to shut down the probe, which was started late into Trump’s presidency, told CNN that questions were raised on the legitimacy of the investigation, citing concerns about the quality of its work.

A team of investigators from the World Health Organization said it was “most likely” that the virus emerged from animal to human transmission following a month-long investigation in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus likely originated. But the team could not definitely rule out the possibility of a lab leak, and WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also said in March he does “not believe that this assessment was extensive enough.”

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