The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Wednesday that it has filed a lawsuit against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the House Intelligence Committee for information relating to the acquirement and release of the phone records from Rudy Giuliani, Devin Nunes, and others.
“We are seeking records about [Schiff’s] controversial subpoenas that led to his publishing the private phone records of President Trump’s lawyers and other innocent Americans including: President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Congressman Devin Nunes, and journalist John Solomon,” the group said in a video announcing the lawsuit. “The lawsuit seeks all subpoenas by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to telephone providers, including, but not limited to, AT&T.”
“Adam Schiff and his Committee ran roughshod over the rule of law in pursuit of the abusive impeachment of President Trump,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said. “This lawsuit serves as a reminder that Congressman Schiff and Congress are not above the law.”
In early December The Daily Wire reported that House Democrats received the private phone records for Giuliani, Solomon, and Nunes as part of their investigation into Lev Parnas for the Trump impeachment inquiries. At the time Parnas spoke to Solomon (as a source for an article) the former Giuliani associate was not under indictment for campaign finance charges. The release of the phone records was deliberately designed to make the people in question look like accomplices, even though there is no evidence the issues surrounding Parnas were discussed during his calls with Giuliani, Nunes, or Solomon.
In a statement to The Daily Wire at the time, Nunes said publishing the phones records was “a gross abuse of power.”
“The Democrats’ impeachment charade is flailing, and desperate people do desperate things,” he said. “So, Schiff suddenly published phone records of myself, current and former Republican staff members, and a journalist whose reporting he doesn’t like. It’s a gross abuse of power for a congressman to go after his political opponents, staffers, and reporters in this way, but it’s characteristic of the way Schiff has run this entire show. He’s going to need a long rehabilitation period when this is over.”
Schiff told Politico at the time that it was “deeply concerning that 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 that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity.”
Of course, phone records aren’t conclusive evidence that anyone was “complicit” in the activity.
Solomon responded to the release of his phone calls in The Wall Street Journal shortly after the news broke.
“If the executive branch, and by extension the courts that enforce these privacy protections, observe the need for such sensitivity, it seems reasonable that Congress should have similar guardrails ensuring that the powers of the state are equally and fairly applied,” Solomon wrote.
Solomon wrote that Schiff’s subpoena “trampled the attorney-client privilege of Mr. Trump and his lawyers,” and “intruded on my First Amendment rights to interview and contact figures like Mr. Giuliani and the Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas without fear of having the dates, times and length of private conversation disclosed to the public.”