In an unprecedented violation of the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers spelled out by the Founding Fathers, the Justice Department in the Trump administration spied on congressional Democrats and their children, according to a disturbing report from the New York Times.

The purpose of the spying: To determine who was leaking what the administration considered to be classified information:

“As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor. All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry.”

Two of Trump’s attorneys general are implicated in the scheme to spy on Democrats, a move that even former President Richard Nixon never took:

“Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry. But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations.”

Congressman Schiff said the Times report proves that Trump routinely abused the rule of law:

“Schiff described the DOJ’s willingness to target Trump’s enemies and its ‘shield to protect those who lied for him’ as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘a body blow to our democracy.’

He reserved particular scorn for former Attorney General Bill Barr, calling out his ‘long pattern of duplicity’ for doing Trump’s bidding.

“’I view Bill Barr as the second most-dangerous person in the country after Donald Trump and this is just further proof of that,’ said Schiff.”

There are already calls on Capitol Hill for hearings on the matter and talk that Trump, Barr, and Sessions — along with others at the DOJ — could be criminally charged for their actions.

Featured Image Via NBC News