The Donald Trump administration spied on top Democrats and their children after gaining access to lawmakers’ phone data, a report claims.
Phone data belonging to two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee were subject to interrogation by the Trump administration and justice department (DoJ) in 2018, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
It followed concerns of information leaking from the Robert Mueller investigation into the former president’s ties to Russia.
Data of family members and aides were also seized in the investigation, which came to light last month, when Apple informed Congress. It had previously been under a gagging order, reported the Times.
Although the data did not include messages, images or emails, according to the report, it was a rare move for the justice department to secretly interrogate members of Congress.
Top Democrats on Thursday including Mr Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accused Mr Trump of having politicised the DoJ during the Russia investigation.
“These actions appear to be yet another egregious assault on our democracy,” said Ms Pelosi. “The news about the politicisation of the Trump Administration Justice Department is harrowing”.
Mr Schiff, the chairman of the intelligence committee, told the Times: “The politicisation of the department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former president.”
He added, "I believe more answers are needed, which is why I believe the Inspector General should investigate this and other cases that suggest the weaponisation of law enforcement by a corrupt president.”
It was found that the House intelligence committee was not behind the leaks, according to the paper, and the investigation was closed in May, Mr Schiff said.
Additional reporting by Reuters