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Apple Says It Turned Over Data on Donald McGahn in 2018


There are reasons to doubt that Mr. McGahn was the target of any Justice Department leak investigation stemming from that episode, however. Among others, information about Mr. Trump’s orders to have Mr. Mueller removed does not appear to be the sort of classified national-security secret that it can be a crime to disclose without authorization.

Yet another roughly concurrent event is that the subpoena to Apple that swept up Mr. McGahn’s information came shortly after another one the Justice Department had sent to Apple on Feb. 6, 2018, for a leak investigation related to unauthorized disclosures of information about the Russia inquiry, ensnaring data on congressional staff members, their families and at least two members of Congress.

Among those whose data was secretly seized under a gag order, and who were only recently notified, were two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee: Eric Swalwell and Adam B. Schiff, both of California. Mr. Schiff, a sharp political adversary of Mr. Trump, is now the panel’s chairman. The Times first reported on that subpoena last week.

Many questions remain unanswered about the events leading up to the politically sensitive subpoenas, including how high they were authorized in the Trump Justice Department and whether investigators anticipated or hoped that they were going to sweep in data on the politically prominent lawmakers. The subpoena sought data on 109 email addresses and phone numbers.

In that case, the leak investigation appeared to have been primarily focused on Michael Bahar, then a staff member on the House Intelligence Committee. People close to Jeff Sessions and Rod J. Rosenstein, the top two Justice Department officials at the time, have said that neither knew that prosecutors had sought data about the accounts of lawmakers for that investigation.

It remains murky whether agents were pursuing a theory that Mr. Bahar had leaked on his own or whether they suspected him of talking to reporters with the approval of the lawmakers. Either way, it appears they were unable to prove their suspicions that he was the source of any unauthorized disclosures; the case has been closed and no charges were brought.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday called for Mr. Barr, Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein to testify before Congress about the subpoenas. She said that what the Justice Department did under Trump “goes even beyond Richard Nixon but declined to say whether a congressional committee would compel their testimony.



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