Ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (CA) told a podcaster last week that he is still considering “all” his legal options after the Intel panel’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), released some of his phone records during House Democrats’ impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.
“We’re going to look at all the legal remedies that we can take,” Nunes told host Larry O’Connor on the Examining Politics podcast, according to the Washington Examiner.
In addition to Nunes, Schiff obtained subpoenas for phone records of several figures who he thought were relevant to the impeachment effort, including presidential lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, journalist John Solomon, Fox News host Sean Hannity, indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, and others, the Washington Examiner reported.
Schiff then published the records in the 658-page report on the impeachment hearings put out by House Democrats in December. Several of those whose phone records were published expressed anger at Schiff’s actions and said he abused his power in doing so, according to the Examiner.
“I’m in California, so for sure, state law, you cannot release somebody’s phone records,” Nunes said in December after the records were released, according to Fox News. “So, for sure, that right has been violated.
“But we also have to look at the constitutional aspects of this,” Nunes added, “and do all the members of Congress have a right to privacy, and can just one member, because he doesn’t like someone and he’s a political opponent of someone, can that member just subpoena records and then release just to embarrass or to create a distraction or to build whatever fantasy-land narrative that they continue to build?”
It’s not over yet
Although the controversy is more than three months old, it was revived earlier this month by a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official who sent a letter demanding answers from Schiff about his actions.
“Chairman Schiff has been collecting Americans’ private call records through a secret [and] partisan process,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr tweeted on March 12. “He even published some of them in the Impeachment Report. These sensitive records are protected by federal law. His conduct raises serious concerns [and] I’ve asked for answers.”
Carr said in his letter that Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee may still be accessing people’s phone records, World Tribune reported. He also said that those involved could be subject to heavy fines and that other actions could be taken.
“As a country, are we comfortable with one political party in Congress having the unilateral [and] unchecked power to secretly obtain [and] publicize the confidential call records of any private citizen, journalist, or government official? Chairman Schiff has been doing exactly that,” Carr said in a follow-up tweet, according to the Tribune.
For his part, Nunes has said the situation is “complicated,” according to the Washington Examiner, thanks to a “corrupt Democratic Congress” and “the fake news media.” But he’s not giving up hope yet — and that’s a good thing.
Schiff and the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee need to be held accountable for their illegal actions. If they aren’t, these actions will become standard operating procedure for Dems for the foreseeable future.