Deputy AG asks DOJ watchdog to investigate the Trump-era seizure of Democrats' phone data

Former President Donald Trump.

  • The deputy AG asked DOJ's watchdog to probe the Trump-era seizure of Democrats' phone data.
  • The data was collected in 2018 as part of an aggressive leak investigation by the Trump DOJ.
  • Democrats threatened to subpoena Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify about the "appalling" matter.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco asked the Justice Department inspector general on Friday to open an investigation into the Trump administration's seizure of House Democrats' phone data, The Associated Press reported.

The data was collected in 2018 as part of the Trump DOJ's investigation into leaking to the media. The New York Times reported that the DOJ seized from Apple the phone metadata of two Democrats, Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, on the House Intelligence Committee. The department also seized the data of family members and aides of the two lawmakers. One person whose data was collected was a minor, The Times said.

Following The Times' reporting, Monaco on Friday asked inspector general Michael Horowitz to investigate the matter. Senate Democrats also threatened to subpoena Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions, who were both attorneys general during the Trump administrations, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"This is a gross abuse of power and an assault on the separation of powers," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and judiciary committee chairman Dick Durbin said in a joint statement Friday. "This appalling politicization of the Department of Justice by Donald Trump and his sycophants must be investigated immediately by both the DOJ Inspector General and Congress."

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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