A subpoena to AT&T to obtain private records of Americans who used their phones call logs from 2015 to 2018 was the opening salvo Monday in Congress’ public crusade to root out the President’s personal and professional enemies.
But it also included far more than the number of people who used their phones, a person familiar with the subpoenas told FOX News.
They do not, the person said, know the names of who was targeted or the exact nature of the calls, other than they were “suspicious.” The source cautioned, however, that the calls could be irrelevant or even innocuous.
The records request is part of the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election, including its links to a server at the Trump Organization’s Trump Tower in New York City, allegations of links between the President and Russia, and questionable relationships between Trump associates and Russia.
The subpoena letter dated January 6 sought call logs, in addition to other data, “and related information from the following providers:: BOKU Wireless, Cricket Wireless, CDMA2000, Consumer Cellular, FreedomPop, KTFS, Ting, Virgin Mobile, WeatherTech, and XO Communications, (together, the “Wireless Providers”) – as of the date of the original demand.”
Multiple sources told FOX News that the underlying mandate is to look at connections between people who communicated with the Trump campaign and Russia through Russian-backed intermediaries to key members of the campaign, and foreign ambassadors in the US. The records subpoenaed by Congress were for those who used their phones.
“These records are relevant to the Committee’s inquiries into contacts between Russian operatives and certain members of the Trump Campaign,” the letter said.
The subpoena encompasses requests to telephone providers from January to March 2018 “to include handset data, telephone network information (such as the originating provider’s IP address), and any other information related to each of the requested Wireless Providers.”
The subpoena was provided to two companies, Cellular South and Equifax Wireless.
The Chairman, California Democrat Adam Schiff, and ranking Republican, Texas Rep. Mike Conaway, of the committee, want the data for a period of just over 18 months, suggesting it is meant to cover from Jan. 3, 2015, to March 3, 2018.
Conaway has released only a small number of documents, at least 17.7 percent of them as mandated under the subpoena.
“The effort to preserve useful information from this investigation could be considered an extraordinary step,” Conaway’s letter to the wireless providers said.
The US government can obtain phones without a warrant if it can show probable cause that the device is being used to commit a crime. The Trump Administration says there was such probable cause in one case.
In this case, the data is sought for information that was related to Trump campaign officials, however congressional Democrats have questioned the authority to make the broad request.
The far reaching subpoena, requested from all Wireless Providers serving the U.S. domestically, also includes any data from the devices themselves.
By law, the House Intelligence Committee has to publish its findings within the next two years.
Conaway has said that the committee has engaged in a voluntary public process with Trump associates that it had hoped to do, but was unable to because of the current tense political climate.
“The Russians know we’re working on this. Our Committee in two years (will) go back and look at this and what we found,” Conaway told FOX News earlier this month.
This report was written by the Associated Press.