‘This is what Trump wanted’: NYT reporter explains DOJ spying on Adam Schiff
President Donald J. Trump offers a fist pump to awaiting supporters as he disembarks Air Force One Saturday, Dec. 14 2019, at Philadelphia International Airport to attend the 120th Army-Navy football game, official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow was shocked after the latest bombshell report on the Trump administration.

"This is a big deal," Maddow said. "But in all the time I have been in this business, I have never covered anything quite like this before. I have never read about anything like this before happening in American politics, in government. As far as we know, nothing like this has ever happened before."

"But just within the last hour, The New York Times has broken a whole new level of the story, and, again, this is not just sort of a shocking revelation about the Trump Justice Department. this is something, as far as we can tell, that has never been done before in U.S. government — and it has profound implications for the separation of powers between the branches of government," she explained.

"As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor," The New York Times reported Thursday. "All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel's top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry."

Both Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions are implicated.

"Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry," the newspaper reported. "But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations."

For analysis, Maddow interviewed Michael Schmidt, one of the reporters who wrote the piece.

"I think that the most important thing or the biggest sort of -- one of the more fundamental problems with the entire episode is that this is what Donald Trump wanted, and this is why legal experts and people on both sides of the aisle say that the president of the United States should not weigh in about criminal investigations, and he should not talk about using the Justice Department to target a rival because if the Justice Department does something, it is seen immediately through that lens. We look at this, and we say, Adam Shiff, a constant target of Donald Trump, has his entire staff and one of the staff's children subpoenaed, has their information subpoenaed from Apple. This is exactly what the president said publicly and privately that he wanted," Schmidt said.


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