According to the Associated Press (AP) and The New York Times, the affected lawmakers were members of the House Intelligence Committee and came under suspicion before federal officials over a case of leaks related to Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 elections and other issues.
As an official on that panel and two people familiar with the probe told the AP on condition of anonymity, Trump’s DOJ prosecutors requested the data in 2018 from the Apple company.
According to the NYT, records were eventually shared for at least 12 people connected to the intelligence panel, including Chairman Adam Schiff, then the top Democrat on that group, and some family members of the lawmakers.
California Republican Eric Swalwell was the second member to be spied on by Trump, according to spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein, but records were also seized from assistants, former assistants and family members, including one who was a minor, a committee official said.
A third person said Apple complied with the subpoena, provided the data to the DOJ and did not immediately notify Congress members or the committee about the disclosure.
While federal authorities routinely conduct investigations of leaked information, including classified intelligence, opening such an inquiry to Congress members is extraordinarily rare, AP assessed.
The Trump administration’s efforts to secretly gain access to data on individual members of Congress and others associated with the panel occurred when the president was furious over then Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s congressional investigations into Russia, which the former president called a witch hunt.
The disclosure came after that federal agency revealed in early June that during President Trump, the administration secretly obtained the phone records of four New York Times reporters.