Justice Dep Subpoenaed McGahn's Records06/14 06:14
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Apple informed former Trump White House counsel Don
McGahn and his wife that the Justice Department had subpoenaed information
about accounts belonging to them in 2018, a person familiar with the matter
said Sunday, days after two House lawmakers disclosed they, too, had their
information secretly subpoenaed.
It's not clear yet why the Trump administration sought the McGahns' records.
But the others were part of a leak probe related to the investigation of
Russian-related election interference. The extraordinary disclosure that the
Justice Department sought records of a sitting White House counsel and others,
which was first reported by the New York Times, raises questions about how far
the Trump administration was willing to go to ferret out who it thought might
be responsible for damaging information about the administration.
Separately on Sunday, the Senate's top Democrat called on the Justice
Department's chief national security official -- a Trump appointee who has
remained in the Biden administration -- to testify under oath voluntarily or
face a subpoena to answer questions about secretly seizing the phone data from
House Democrats and reporters as part of the aggressive investigations into
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said it is "imperative" the
Senate Judiciary Committee issue a subpoena to John Demers, the assistant
attorney general for national security, in addition to former attorneys general
Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions, if they refuse to appear voluntarily.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday also called on Barr,
Sessions as well as Rod Rosenstein, the no. 2 Justice official at the time, to
testify under oath in the House about what they knew. She declined to say
whether she would push for subpoenas if they refused to appear.
"The Justice Department has been rogue under President Trump, understand
that, in so many respects," Pelosi told CNN's "State of the Union. "This is
just another manifestation of their rogue activity."
Schumer and Pelosi's demands come days after news emerged that the Justice
Department had secretly subpoenaed Apple for metadata from House Intelligence
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and another Democratic member of the panel,
California Rep. Eric Swalwell, in 2018, as their committee was investigating
the former president's ties to Russia. Schiff at the time was the top Democrat
on the panel, which was led by Republicans.
Demers has been in charge of the department's national security division
since February 2018, being sworn in a few weeks after the subpoena was issued
to Apple for the Democrats' records, and his division has played a role in each
of the leak investigations. Schumer called on Senate Republicans to join in a
demand to issue the subpoenas.
"This was nothing less than a gross abuse of power," Schumer said of the
seized records. "I don't think we've ever had a record of this in the past. ...
This is about separation of powers."
President Joe Biden has nominated Matt Olsen, an executive at Uber who has
experience in the Justice Department and served as director of the National
Counterterrorism Center and as general counsel for the National Security
Agency, to be the next assistant attorney general for national security.
But Demers has remained in place while Olsen awaits a confirmation hearing
in the Senate. The former Boeing airline executive is one of the few remaining
Trump appointees still in office.
The records of at least 12 people connected to the House intelligence panel
were eventually shared with the Justice Department by Apple after the subpoena
was issued in 2018, including aides, former aides and family members. One was a
The subpoena, issued Feb. 6, 2018, requested information on 73 phone numbers
and 36 email addresses, Apple said. It also included a non-disclosure order
that prohibited the company from notifying any of the people and was renewed
three times, the company said in a statement.
On Friday, the Justice Department's inspector general launched a probe into
the matter after a request from Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Inspector
General Michael Horowitz said he would examine whether the data subpoenaed by
the Justice Department and turned over by Apple followed department policy and
"whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper
Horowitz said he would also investigate similar Trump-era seizures of
journalists' phone records.
In recent weeks, the Justice Department notified news organizations that it
secretly seized phone records belonging to reporters at the New York Times, the
Washington Post and CNN as part of criminal leak investigations.
Following an outcry from press freedom organizations, the Justice Department
announced earlier this month that it would cease the practice of going after
journalists' sourcing information.