The Times reported that as it hunted for the source of leaks about Trump associates and Russian Federation, the Justice Department had used grand jury subpoenas to compel Apple and one other service provider to hand over data tied to at least a dozen people associated with the House Intelligence Committee beginning in 2017 and 2018.
In 2017 and 2018, the records of 12 people with connections to the committee - including a minor - were seized, several people with knowledge of the matter told the Times.
The records of at least twelve people connected to the intelligence panel were eventually shared, including Chairman Adam Schiff, who was then the top Democrat on the committee.
The Times said the Justice Department "secured a gag order on Apple that expired this year, according to a person familiar with the inquiry, so lawmakers did not know they were being investigated until Apple informed them last month".
The Justice Department's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, announced Friday that his office will be investigating the incident and whether it was "based upon improper considerations", following requests from Democratic leaders in Congress.
There has been a fair amount of uproar over the new revelations, especially on the heels of multiple reports about the Trump DOJ seizing communications of journalists at CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
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At least a dozen people in total were impacted, The New York Times reported, in an attempt to uncover the source of leaks to the press about Trump associates and their dealings with Russian Federation.
The full report on the subpoenas and the circumstances behind them can be read over at The New York Times.
While the Justice Department routinely conducts investigation into leaks, including of classified information, opening such an investigation into members of Congress is extraordinarily rare. The committee is aware, though, that metadata from the accounts was turned over, the official said. It did not name any other member of the House beside Schiff. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Thursday that an investigation is warranted. "Apparently, they didn't find anything", Schiff said during a CNN interview on Friday.
The committee has continued to seek additional information, but the Justice Department has not been forthcoming in a timely manner, including on questions such as whether the investigation was properly predicated and whether it targeted only Democrats.
Another Democrat on the intelligence panel, Illinois Representative Mike Quigley, said he did not find it even "remotely surprising" that Trump went after committee members' records during the Russian Federation probe.
The Justice Department also seized Apple data from the accounts of committee aides and family members, the Times said.