Republican leaders in the House are exploring “a wide variety of strong responses” after Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) published phone records of ranking committee member Devin Nunes (R-CA), reporter John Solomon, and others in his committee’s impeachment inquiry report, a top GOP aide told the Washington Examiner.
Schiff reportedly used subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump to obtain phone records from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and an associate, Lev Parnas, from AT&T. The released records also show contact between Nunes, Giuliani and Parnas and Solomon and Giuliani. Details of the calls and any conversations were not included.
Scalise: “This is unprecedented”
Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) on Friday asked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) what Schiff planned to do with the records and said it appeared that the chair was politically targeting Nunes and Solomon for their positions against impeachment, the Examiner reported.
“How many other members of Congress is the chairman spying on?” Scalise asked Hoyer in an exchange on the House floor. “This is unprecedented. I’ve never seen a chairman of a committee abuse their subpoena power to go after other members of Congress that they have political agreements with or members of the press that they have political disagreements with. That’s over the line. It’s an abuse of power.”
While admitting his “knowledge of the matter is not deep,” Hoyer argued that what Schiff did was not spying. “They did receive information as a result of subpoenas and discovery … but I’d have to get a greater knowledge of the information … to give a broader response.”
Nunes, Solomon consider legal action
Nunes and Solomon both say they are looking at taking legal action in response.
“I believe I am the first member of Congress and I believe my staff and former staff are the first ones ever to have their phone records exposed like this,” Nunes told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “We’re definitely going to take legal action,” Nunes said.
“We need to get to court to try to stop that from happening again,” he added.
Reporter John Solomon told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs that while plenty of reporters have spoken with both Giuliani and Parnas, it’s strange that his were the only ones “extracted” and released in the report. “It makes me wonder whether it’s political payback,” he said.
“I’m looking with my lawyers to examine some potential remedies here,” Solomon told Dobbs.
This sets a disturbing precedent
Government Integrity Project director Tom Anderson called Schiff out for his shifting standards on privacy rights when it comes to his political enemies. “[Schiff] didn’t want other members to expose private information of the whistleblower, but he is doing the same thing to people who don’t have anything to do with the impeachment process,” Anderson told the Daily Signal.
“I hope his colleagues will pause and consider the ramifications of releasing private phone records, including records of calls made to journalists,” Anderson said. “In their zeal to pursue Donald Trump, the Democrats are setting terrible precedents. Do they really want to have these tactics used against them by Republicans in the future?”