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Stefanik Defends Trump Justice Department Amid Outrage Over Data Seizures

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is defending President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice following outrage over a report revealing that it seized records from at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The New York Times first reported last week that prosecutors “subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members.”

One of the accounts was that of a minor.

Stefanik, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said during a news conference on Tuesday, “We’ve seen illegal leaks from our colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee, and there have been numerous referrals to the Department of Justice.”

She continued, “So I think it’s important that the Department of Justice determine if there were any illegal leaks, leaks by members of Congress, or their staff members.”

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Watch part of the press conference below:

Stefanik pointed out House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) “released information regarding the ranking member, Devin Nunes, his phone calls, as well as reporters. That is unethical. Frankly, I believe that’s illegal.”

The Hill notes Stefanik was referring to Schiff’s report from December of 2019 on Trump’s first impeachment.

“I certainly think the inspector general is going to look into this whether there was any overreach by the Department of Justice,” Stefanik said.

She added, “But make no mistake, there have been illegal leaks from members of Congress. That’s a national security risk. That is a federal crime. It’s very serious and we want to make sure that the Department of Justice is able to pursue any type of criminal illegal leaks.”

Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) records were reportedly seized. The seizures occurred between 2017 and 2018.

During an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show” Thursday, Schiff called the department’s actions “a terrible abuse of power.”

He continued, “But it also makes the Department of Justice just a fully owned subsidiary of the president’s personal legal interests and political interests. And that does such damage to the department.”

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