WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, NY, and Senate Justice Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, Ill., Urged former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and William Barr to testify under oath to Congress, secretly sought Apple Inc. records relating to communications from Democrats through the House of Representatives Committee on Intelligence and their aides and relatives after Trump Justice Department revelations.
“If they refuse, they will be summoned and forced to testify under oath,” the two senators said in a statement. “In addition, the Department of Justice must provide information and answers to the Justice Committee, which will vigorously investigate this abuse of power.”
The senators also said other officials involved must testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “We expect our Republican colleagues to investigate this serious matter with us,” they said.
Apple informed people associated with the committee in May that the Justice Department issued grand jury summons for their information in February 2018, a committee official said. The committee immediately contacted the Justice Department for clarification and additional information, the official said, adding that the department informed the committee last month that the matter was closed.
The calls for Mr. Barr’s testimony follow late Thursday’s news that the Justice Department, under the Trump administration, has requested records from Apple Inc. regarding communications from members of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as some of their aides and family members, said a Official of the committee.
Barr, the second attorney general for former President Donald Trump, inherited about half a dozen leak investigations when he took office in 2019. He directed a federal attorney from New Jersey to work on the cases that had dwindled among his predecessors and then brief senior officials, said a person familiar with the matter.
But on Friday, Mr Barr said he had not come across any cases of subpoenas related to legislative communications. “I don’t remember that case,” said Mr. Barr. “All the steps that were taken were taken before I got there.”
Mr Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff have called for an investigation into the Justice Department’s tracing of communications data, first reported by the New York Times. It has been reported that the records of at least a dozen people linked to the panel in 2017 and early 2018, including Mr Schiff’s, were confiscated during the investigation.
Reports of the subpoenas follow earlier revelations that Mr. Barr’s Justice Department subpoenaed the records of reporters from several news organizations, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN.
The Justice Department, which has said it will no longer keep a record of reporters’ contacts when the government investigates sensitive information, declined to comment.
The House Intelligence Committee continued to seek additional information from the Justice Department, the official said, adding that “the DOJ was not submitted in a timely manner, including on issues such as whether the investigation was properly reasoned and whether it was aimed only at Democrats. ”
Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8