Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has sued the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Adam Schiff (D-CA), to obtain documents related to subpoenas issued for the phone records of President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guliani, journalist John Solomon, fellow committee member Devin Nunes (R-CA), and others — information from which was included in Schiff’s impeachment report, according to Breitbart.
Schiff tried to use the records to support the claim that Guiliani, Solomon, and Nunes engaged in a concerted effort to disparage and undermine the credibility of former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who offered harsh criticism of the president during her impeachment testimony before the House.
Those subpoenas and subsequent use of the records obtained by Schiff may have violated the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution, as Breitbart’s Joel Pollak argued earlier this month. No legal basis for obtaining the records was cited in Schiff’s report, but AT&T handed them over anyway, according to Judicial Watch.
Nunes has said he plans to explore his legal options with regard to the matter, according to Fox News, and has asserted that his civil rights were violated by the publication of the records at issue.
The lawsuit comes after a Dec. 6 request to see the records was ignored, a Judicial Watch press release reported. The watchdog group says that it initiated this legal action pursuant to the public’s common-law right of public access to review government records.
Schiff has refused to disclose exactly how he obtained the records, but the process was kept secret enough that Nunes and others didn’t even know that Schiff had subpoenaed or obtained the records until the impeachment report was published.
Judicial Watch accuses Schiff of abusing his power with the subpoenas, the same accusation Schiff has long made against Trump and that was included in the formal articles of impeachment passed by the House, according to NBC News. However, in Schiff’s case, the alleged abuse of power involves an actual violation of the law, whereas the claim against the president does not specify such an offense.
“Adam Schiff abused his power to secretly subpoena and then publish the private phone records, in potential violation of law, of innocent Americans. What else is Mr. Schiff hiding?” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton asked.
“Schiff and his Committee ran roughshod over the rule of law in pursuit of the abusive impeachment of President Trump,” Fitton continued. “This lawsuit serves as a reminder that Congressman Schiff and Congress are not above the law.”
The phone records are yet another example of the blatantly unfair impeachment push in which House Democrats have engaged. Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tightly controlled Republican and public access to witnesses, transcripts, and other information throughout the entire process.
Republicans, for their part, were denied the opportunity to call witnesses and were regularly prevented from asking questions of witnesses called by Democrats.
Perhaps because of the nakedly partisan nature of the proceedings observed by the American public over the past few months, support for impeachment and removal of the president has continued to decline, The Hill notes. And it will only get worse for Dems from here.