Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is facing a new lawsuit for publishing the private phone records of American citizens, including Republican lawmaker Devin Nunes (CA).
Judicial Watch, a conservative-leaning government watchdog group, is suing Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee for the breach of privacy, Breitbart reported Monday.
“What else is Mr. Schiff hiding? He and his committee ran roughshod over the rule of law in pursuit of the abusive impeachment of President [Donald] Trump,” Judicial Watch’s president, Tom Fitton, said. “This lawsuit serves as a reminder that Congressman Schiff and Congress are not above the law.”
A lawsuit on his hands
Fitton said he filed the lawsuit after a Dec. 6 request for records was ignored. Judicial Watch is seeking all subpoenas that Schiff’s committee issued “on or about [Sept.] 30, 2019, to any telecommunications provider including, but not limited to AT&T” for any individuals, as well as the responses to those subpoenas.
“The records are of critical public importance as the subpoenas were issued without any lawful basis and violated the rights of numerous private citizens,” the lawsuit states.
Some of those targeted by Schiff include Nunes, reporter John Solomon, Rudy Giuliani, and two of Giuliani’s Ukrainian associates, among others, according to Breitbart. Schiff published the phone records in a lengthy impeachment report that his committee prepared for the House Judiciary panel earlier this month.
Republicans responded with outrage to news of the snooping, which they characterized as a disgraceful — but not out of character — breach of privacy by one of the Democrats’ top impeachment prosecutors. As might be expected, the media has downplayed Schiff’s misconduct, and the California Democrat has expressed no remorse — quite the opposite, in fact; he has been clear that he thinks his actions were justified.
According to the Washington Examiner, Schiff has denied subpoenaing the records of Nunes and others directly, instead insisting that their information was collected when the committee investigated associates of Giuliani, who played an important role in Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine.
“We did not subpoena any journalist’s call records,” Schiff said. “That is just simply false information being pushed by the president’s defenders.”
For their part, Democrats have largely agreed with Schiff that — if anything — he should be applauded for uncovering potential leads in their investigation of Trump’s alleged impeachable actions.
Shifty Schiff exposed
Schiff’s cavalier attitude about spying on his Republican counterpart might have been surmised from his claims about abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Schiff infamously accused Nunes of peddling far-right “conspiracy theories” with his 2018 memo alleging that the FBI was dishonest when it sought FISA warrants to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign staffer.
But according to Fox News, the recently released report from Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz proved that Nunes was right and Schiff was wrong. The report found that the infamous Christopher Steele dossier was “essential” in obtaining the warrants to spy on Page and that the FBI lied about the document’s political background, contradicting Schiff’s claims that the dossier was a minor part of the FISA process.
But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shrugged at a House Republican’s demand to retaliate by publishing Schiff’s phone records, and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has expressed similar reluctance to use the power of the Senate to expose Hunter Biden and other witnesses sought by Republicans, unsuccessfully, for the last few months. Graham also has no desire to call Schiff to testify, according to Axios, something that has been sought by Republicans who have complained about his handling of the impeachment inquiry, including his contacts with the so-called “whistleblower.”
Nunes, who has said that he is looking at his legal options, told The Epoch Times that Schiff committed a “gross abuse of power” that was nevertheless typical of the Democrat, who he said needs to be rehabilitated “when this is over.”