Former White House counsel Don McGahn was informed by Apple that in 2018, before he left the administration, the Justice Department sought digital records belonging to both him and his wife.
According to CNN, the DOJ “appears to have accessed” the couple’s records during the same month data from the accounts of House Intelligence Committee Democrats were secretly obtained. Just weeks before sending the subpoena for McGahn’s records to Apple, Trump had reportedly grown dissatisfied with his then-White House counsel for refusing to cede to pressure to help facilitate the ouster of former special counsel Robert Mueller during the Russia investigation. McGahn’s testimony before the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee earlier this month confirmed those reports.
Apple was unable to notify McGahn until last month because of a DOJ nondisclosure order, according to the New York Times, who was first to report the news on Sunday. And, according to NPR, who also cited a source on McGahn’s subpoena, it still remains unclear what the DOJ was investigating and if they obtained any of the data they sought.
By all reports, the move by the DOJ to subpoena the records of a sitting White House counsel is highly unusual. This news comes as congressional Democrats are vowing to investigate the actions of Trump’s Justice Department. The DOJ’s watchdog is also looking into the matter.
In an interview on CNN Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she wants both former Trump attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify before Congress regarding the subpoenas. Both have denied any knowledge of it, but Pelosi isn’t buying it.
“For the attorneys general — Barr and Sessions, at least — to say that they didn’t know anything about it is beyond belief,” Pelosi said. “So, we will have to have them come under oath to testify about that.”