Republicans are indignant after learning that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) abused his power in the impeachment inquiry to spy on his Republican counterpart and others sympathetic to President Donald Trump.
Schiff obtained and published phone records of Devin Nunes (R-CA), journalist John Solomon, and others in a 300-page impeachment report, and Republicans are now demanding that he be called to account for it.
“I want to know all the people Adam Schiff is spying on,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) told the Washington Examiner. “Are there other members of Congress that he is spying on, and what justification does he have? He needs to be held accountable and explain what he’s doing, going after journalists, going after members of Congress, instead of doing his job.”
Schiff caught “spying”
Republicans have long condemned Schiff’s conduct of the impeachment inquiry, which they argue is characterized by dishonesty and prejudgment of Trump’s supposed guilt. They bristled when Democrats approved rules that vastly limited Nunes’ power to call witnesses during public hearings led by Schiff, for example.
But Schiff went much further than blocking Nunes’ witnesses, as it turns out. A 300-page report that Schiff’s committee voted to pass along to Jerry Nadler (D-NY) this week contains, in its pages of innuendo and accusations against President Trump, references to phone records of Schiff’s perceived enemies, including Nunes and others who have supported Trump against the impeachment inquiry.
Those targeted include Sean Hannity, Trump’s personal attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, and Solomon, a columnist for The Hill whose articles played a major role in publicizing allegations of corruption against Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Some of the records pertain to calls between Nunes and Giuliani, Giuliani and a Ukrainian associate named Lev Parnas, Nunes and Parnas, and Solomon and Parnas.
Democrats have attacked Solomon, a former Washington Post journalist, as a “conspiracy theorist” for disrupting the mainstream media narrative on Biden. Solomon also had written about allegations that Marie Yovanivitch, an impeachment witness and then-ambassador to Ukraine, provided a “do not prosecute” list to Ukraine’s prosecutor, according to The Hill.
Schiff has not apologized for the intrusion, of course, and Democrats are standing behind it as well, saying that it proves suspicions that Giuliani and perhaps Nunes were working with Ukrainians to help President Trump. Democrats have denied subpoenaing records from Nunes or Solomon.
“I find it deeply concerning at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence of members of Congress complicit in that activity,” Schiff said Tuesday.
Nunes is calling Schiff’s actions an attack on his “civil liberties,” and he is looking into “whatever legal remedies” are available, as he told Fox’s Tucker Carlson. The Republican blasted Schiff for making it a “crime” to talk to Giuliani or people from Ukraine.
“And, we have to remember…we spent the last three years, at first if any Republican ever talked to any Russian at any time — even if you are Russian-American — that was a no-no. Then we were criticized,” he explained to Carlson. “We switched to Ukraine. If you talk to any Ukrainian that’s now a crime. Now, I can’t even talk to Rudy Giuliani who I have known for 10 years. That’s supposedly a crime.”
Republicans have threatened to have Schiff testify about his staff’s early contacts with the “whistleblower” who launched the entire impeachment circus, but it looks like they have another reason to do so now.