The Trump Justice Department’s reported decision to subpoena tech companies for account data of U.S. lawmakers was a step that “goes even beyond Richard Nixon,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“Richard Nixon had an enemies list,” Pelosi said. “This is about undermining the rule of law.”
The New York Times reported Thursday that the Justice Department under the former president in 2017 and 2018 subpoenaed Apple for information from the accounts of at least a dozen people tied to the House Intelligence Committee, including two Democratic lawmakers: Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. Microsoft acknowledged Friday it had received a similar request.
The investigation reportedly sought the source of leaks about contact between Trump associates and Russia. A gag order prevented Apple and Microsoft from initially notifying the owners of the affected accounts of the subpoenas, the companies said. Apple said it didn’t know the probe involved the metadata of lawmakers when it complied.
The Justice Department’s internal watchdog said it would investigate the probe. While that step is important, Pelosi said, “it is not a substitute for what we must do in the Congress,” adding that she would ensure a review of the situation in the House.
Pelosi expressed disbelief in the claims by former Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions that they were unaware of the probes into lawmakers. She said they must testify under oath, though she did not say whether she would subpoena their testimony should they not voluntarily comply.
“How could it be that there could be an investigation of members in the other branch of government and the press and the rest too and the attorneys general did not know?” she said. “So who are these people and are they still in the Justice Department?”