Justice Department watchdog and Senate launch investigation into seizure of Democrats’ data

The Times also reported that prosecutors had struggled to develop information linking the leaks to members of the intelligence committee or their associates, but Mr Barr objected to the investigation being closed, after Mr Barr was sworn in in 2019. The case was eventually closed without charges.

A close aide of Mr Sessions said he also did not know that the Justice Department had produced data relating to members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff and family. At the time, investigators were trying to identify the source of leaks about the Russia investigation; Mr Sessions was sidelined from most Russia-related matters after speaking with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

Rod J. Rosenstein, Mr Sessions’ deputy who handled matters from which the attorney general has distanced himself, declined to comment.

In this case, Intelligence Committee aides learned the full extent of the investigation only in May, when a gag order at Apple ended and the company notified individuals whose data had been altered pursuant to the summons.

But there were signs of activity even earlier. According to current and former government officials, the FBI interrogated Michael Bahar, a former House Intelligence Committee staff member, in the spring of 2020.

A copy of the summons to Microsoft, reviewed by The Times, shows that the department was seeking records going back to April 2016 that may have linked the committee’s official to particular accounts, such as who used the account. with which devices, how they were logged on, where and when, and other customer information provided to Microsoft when the account was set up.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Friday that it had received the subpoena but had been subject to a gag order for more than two years that prevented the company from notifying the affiliate about the seizure.

Katie Benner Contributed to reporting.

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