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[WATCH] Trump Goes ‘Full Nixon’: Breaking Down the MAGA/DOJ Spying Scandal

When The New York Times broke the story that the Trump-era DOJ secretly subpoenaed Apple for records on top House Democrats who were investigating him, including Rep. Adam Schiff, Democrats immediately began calling for a full investigation and accountability.

What we’ve learned raises more questions than it answers about how the nation’s attorneys acted and what, exactly, they were looking for. But it is clear that the Justice Department under Trump clearly took steps to pursue leaks unusually aggressively, in a manner that targeted Trump’s political opponents.

From left: WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 16: Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens as President Donald J. Trump speaks during a meeting with California leaders and public officials who oppose California’s sanctuary policies in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 13 : President Donald J. Trump listens during a meeting with First Lady Melania Trump, the President of the Republic of Colombia Ivan Duque Marquez and Mrs. Maria Ruiz Sandoval in the Oval Office at the White House on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 4:
Attorney General William Barr waits for the President at a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General at the White House, on March, 04, 2019 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Prosecutors were looking for the sources behind news stories from early in the Trump administration about contacts between Russia and Trump associates. As part of that leak hunt, the FBI sent a subpoena to Apple in February 2018 seeking metadata on more than 100 accounts as part of an investigation into the disclosure of classified information. The subpoena included a gag order, which meant Apple wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it. That gag order was renewed three times before it expired this year, at which point Apple was allowed to notify the targets, CNN has reported. The House Intelligence Committee has determined that, along with elected members of Congress and staff, the dragnet collected the records of family members, including at least one minor.

The Biden Justice Department is already moving on an internal investigation, and Democrats on Capitol Hill will undoubtedly want to hold hearings.

New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg and The Nation justice correspondent Elie Mystal join MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Friday’s edition of “The Beat with Ari” to discuss the scandal and what happens moving forward. Watch the full segment, below.



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