Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Sunday threw her support behind an “in-depth” investigation into the Trump administration’s secret seizing of Apple data records of House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Collins, who sits on the Senate intelligence committee, was asked during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” about her reaction to The New York Times‘ report last week that Trump administration officials subpoenaed records from Apple for data from at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, congressional aides and their family members in 2017 and 2018. The previous administration’s move was an effort to expose who was behind leaks of classified or damaging information about former President Trump to the press.
Collins first outlined the “two serious allegations” that the Trump-era leak probe brings up.
“One has to do with whether or not there was a leak of classified information by members of Congress,” Collins said. “But the second, which is also important is: has the Justice Department abused its power by going after members of Congress or the press for partisan, political purposes?”
Collins then signaled her support for the DOJ inspector general’s investigation into the seizure of the lawmakers and reporters’ data by the previous administration.
“And that’s why I support the deputy attorney general’s request that the inspector general of the Department of Justice do an in-depth investigation of both of these issues,” Collins said. “That is really important.”
Collins’ remarks were made the same day the Times also reported that Apple notified former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife last month that the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed information about their accounts in February 2018, while McGahn served as White House counsel under the Trump administration.
Collins’ comments follow calls by Democratic leadership demanding that former Attorneys General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions — both of whom, alongside former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, denied knowledge of the secret subpoenas targeting Democratic lawmakers — testify under oath.
On Friday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced his investigation of the Justice Department’s seizure of the data of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and of several reporters as part of wide-ranging leak investigations during the Trump years.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday argued that although the DOJ inspector general’s investigation into the seizure of the lawmakers and reporters’ data by the previous administration is “very important,” it is “not a substitute” for what Congress must do.
“I know that the Senate has called for some review,” Pelosi told CNN. “We will certainly have that in the House of Representatives.”
Watch Collins’ remarks below:
Collins supports IG probe into Trump DOJ seizure of phone data: “There are 2 serious allegations here…whether or not there was a leak of classified information by members of Congress [&] has DOJ abused its power by going after members of Congress, press for partisan purposes?” pic.twitter.com/7tjFOQyvDb
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 13, 2021