Apple didn’t know the Department of Justice was requesting metadata of Democratic lawmakers when it complied with a subpoena during a Trump-era leak investigation, CNBC reports. And it wasn’t the only tech giant tapped in these probes: Microsoft confirmed Friday it received a similar subpoena for a congressional staffer’s personal email account. Both companies were under DOJ gag orders preventing them from notifying the affected users for years.
These instances are part of a growing list of questionable shit the DOJ carried out under former President Donald Trump amid his crusade to crack down on government leakers. The agency also quietly went after phone and email records of journalists at the Washington Post, CNN, and the New York Times to uncover their sources, none of whom were notified until last month.
On Thursday, a New York Times report revealed that a Trump-led DOJ seized records from two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who were frequently targeted in the president’s tantrums: California Representatives Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff (Schiff now chairs the committee). The subpoena extended to at least a dozen people connected to them, including aides, family members, and one minor, in an attempt to identify sources related to news reports on Trump’s contacts with Russia. All told, prosecutors found zero evidence in this seized data, but their efforts have prompted the Justice Department’s inspector general to launch an inquiry into the agency’s handling of leak investigations during the Trump administration.