Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Intelligence Committee chairman who was a major player in the Democrat-led impeachment effort of President Donald Trump, is in trouble.
A commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week wrote a letter to Schiff, charging the Democrat with obtaining private phone records through a “secret and partisan process” and thus depriving American citizens of their legal rights.
“Chairman Schiff has been collecting Americans’ private call records through a secret and partisan process,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr tweeted on Thursday. “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.”
2. By proceeding in secret, Schiff deprived Americans – from private citizens to his political opponents to a journalist – of their legal right to go to court and seek to maintain the confidentiality of their sensitive call records.
Here is my letter.: pic.twitter.com/aXPGVlwWIi
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) March 12, 2020
Dear Mr. Schiff:
Carr’s public comments came this week after he wrote a formal letter to Schiff, demanding answers. “I am writing to you because your committee has collected — and may still be collecting — the protected and confidential call records of private citizens and government officials alike through a secret and partisan process that deprives Americans of their legal right to maintain the privacy of this sensitive information,” Carr wrote in the letter.
It was discovered that, during the House’s impeachment inquiry, Schiff obtained phone call logs from a number of high profile individuals.
The Washington Examiner reports:
The phone call logs in the 658-page December report from House Democrats lists calls to or from Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to other people. The list possibly includes then-national security adviser John Bolton, as well as the call records of Rep. Devin Nunes, now-indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Fox News host Sean Hannity, then-National Security Council aide and former Nunes staffer Kash Patel, a “White House phone number” and the “White House switchboard” and “OMB phone number.” These calls were perhaps intended for then-acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, conservative lawyer Victoria Toensing, conservative investigative reporter John Solomon, and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, among others.
This isn’t the first time that Schiff has been criticized for his obtaining of the phone logs. In fact, he has previously laughed off such criticism. “The blowback is only coming from the far right,” he said on one occasion. “Every investigator seeks phone records … Here, we had testimony that the president charged Rudy Giuliani with carrying out this plot. Naturally, we wanted phone records to point out they had those conversations.”
Carr’s letter may change Schiff’s tune, especially considering that Carr noted in his letter that the FCC has proposed $200 million in fines against T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint for the sort of thing of which Schiff is being accused.
“Federal law has long protected the privacy and confidentiality of Americans’ call records,” Carr wrote.
Carr finished his letter with a series of questions for Schiff. “The process the committee used (and may still be using) to obtain and then publicly release these previously confidential call records raises a number of serious questions — including whether Americans are comfortable with one political party in Congress having the power to secretly obtain and expose the call records of any private citizen, journalist, or government official,” he wrote.
It remains to be seen how Schiff will respond.
Carr, a Republican, was nominated to the FCC by President Donald Trump, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2017. He was re-confirmed in 2019. Carr is one of five commissioners at the FCC.