House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has done almost exactly what he and fellow Democrats accuse President Donald Trump (falsely) of doing: he abused his power to ask an outside entity to investigate political opponents.
Schiff subpoenaed phone records from AT&T that he then used to claim his Republican counterpart, Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes (D-CA), was part of a plot to smear a U.S. ambassador.
What Schiff did is arguably worse than what he claims Trump did in his telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. AT&T is an American company, not a foreign government.
But Schiff didn’t simply ask AT&T for dirt on his opponents. He forced it to hand over the records. And he did so without giving Nunes any warning, or any opportunity to respond to the claims he would later sneak into his 300-page impeachment report.
Schiff’s strategy was not to go for Nunes’s phone number directly, but to subpoena the records of numbers of people who might have called him. So when he showed Nunes his unilateral subpoena — which he is required to do — Nunes had no idea what Schiff was doing. Nor did Schiff explain it to the public: the footnotes in his report simply refer to “AT&T Document Production” with no further explanation.
Schiff’s phone records also targeted Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and investigative journalist John Solomon. He risked violating attorney-client privilege, as well as the freedom of the press. And those are just the records that have been identified: other Americans, including journalists, are likely to have been swept up in the search.
Schiff also apparently mis-identified one of the phone numbers as coming from the Office of Management and Budget, basing key accusations on that sloppy mistake.
Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal notes: “Mr. Schiff claims the ignominious distinction of being the first congressman to use his official powers to spy on a fellow member and publish the details.” She adds, quoting former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, that Schiff’s subpoena may have broken the law. Phone carriers cannot divulge call records without an individual’s consent, except for a legitimate law enforcement purpose: this was not.
Schiff ordered the phone records on Sep. 30, but the House impeachment inquiry was not properly authorized until Oct. 31, so he cannot claim the subpoena was justified. Strassel adds, citing constitutional law expert David Rivkin, that anyone swept up in Schiff’s phone snooping might have the right to sue.
Shockingly, she adds, “The media is treating this [the phone records] as a victory, when it is a disgraceful breach of ethical and legal propriety.”
Instead of protesting Schiff’s abuse of the First and Sixth Amendments, journalists — many of whom are desperate to take Trump down — are pushing Schiff’s conspiracy theory.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo devoted a segment of his Tuesday program to Nunes’s phone records, using former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — fired for dishonesty — to claim Nunes “may have been a player” in the “smear campaign” against Amb. Marie Yovanovitch.
Nunes has since said that he remembers speaking to Giuliani about the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on “Russia collusion,” not about Ukraine or Yovanovitch. He is already suing CNN for defamation for an allegedly false report that he met a former Ukrainian prosecutor in Vienna as part of the “smear campaign” — a claim actually Schiff cited in the impeachment report. (Nunes says he was actually in Benghazi, Libya at the time.)
The irony is rich. CNN and other mainstream media outlets have repeatedly said that Trump’s suspicions about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election are a “conspiracy theory,” even though Ukraine’s efforts — while less aggressive than Russia’s — were widely reported in the mainstream media. Yet they have taken Schiff’s conspiracy theory about Nunes at face value — overlooking how Schiff obtained the records that are fueling their speculations.
Schiff has destroyed the ability of the Intelligence Committee to work in a bipartisan fashion, which is crucial to its oversight function.
Pile it on CNN what have you got to lose Nunes will just double the amount he will sue you for which now also hits AT&Ts bottom line.
Or did Shifty use our NSA Data base? By which FISA ?
Corrupt, fascist Democrats take their next step towards their police state. Just more fodder for the Senate hearings. No doubt, there will be sparse media coverage of THOSE hearings; too much risk of instantaneous Democrat damage.
I was under the impression that Schiff’s committee had no REAL subpoena power.
All quoted sentences from:
What Schiff has is like the idea of a Ukraine phone call but no transcript, so he can make up anything he wants about it.
And Schiff did that despite President Trump releasing the transcript that proved him a fictionalist!
Now he’s layering imaginary conversations based on lists of who-called-whom.
BUT, when did he get “real” subpoena power?
He never had it all during his committee hearing/investigation.
Or, did AT&T just want to help him out?
He has a hard timeline showing a very suspicious pattern of telephone calls between central players who refuse to respond to subpoenas to appear and be questioned. If everything was innocent, why won’t Trump allow anyone to be questioned about it?
Congressional subpoenas are entirely serious. Congress has the legal power to compel witnesses to appear and evidence be provided. AT&T had no legitimated basis for a refusal to comply. They can’t claim executive privilege.
If you will recall, the left defended Schitt’s false accusations based on the false accusation that Trump had altered the transcript. Even though later their own “star witness” Vindman testified HE transcribed the call and it was complete (though he changed the composition of some of the statements). By then, the left had forgotten about Schitt lying and had assumed his rendition was proof of impeachable offenses. Liberals are pretty easy to lie to; they are inherently stupid.
There is nothing suspicious other than what lying Democrats infuse into it. We are now learning that $5.3 billion of the aid (cash) Obama provided went to individuals; no doubt THIS is what Schitt and the rest of the corrupt Democrats are trying to keep buried to protect their cash flow. Biden extorted and Pelosi, Nadler and Schitt are trying to cover up their own corruption. It’s all coming out, Greg, and it will be FULLY exposed in the Senate.
Remember, THIS is what YOU wanted.
True, that. CONGRESS has that power, not Adam Schiff when he is not even a part of an official (voted on by the ENTIRE Congress) hearing!
So, with that in mind, none of Schiff’s subpoenas were going to hold up in court (but Congress Dems were in too much of a hurry to wait) so, on what basis did AT&T respond to an illegal subpoena?
Or, did the entire Congress approve demanding phone records at some point?
@Greg: What is suspicious about them? Explain and expound upon that.
We have the greatest economic numbers in over 50 years over 200K people will have a merrier employed Christmas The US unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent in November 2019 .
No new wars
What could the Dems have to offer? Endless impeachments? more hoaxes like this one is, like Schiff without substance or evidence.
Are you saying that when this impeachment idiocy winds up in the Senate, you will have no problem with the Senate seeking phone records on Schiff without a subpoena? I guess you would have no problem with AT&T handing over your phone records to Schiff if Schiff requested them?
We’re running a trillion-dollar annual deficit even with a strong economy. We’re partying on a credit card. Such parties always come with a serious morning after.
@Greg: If your goddamn whiny, crybaby, sore loser, butthurt Democrats would cooperate with Republicans, perhaps we could cut some spending, pass a budget and address the deficits that add to the $10 trillion Obama himself added to our debt (DOUBLING what took 200 years to compile).
@Greg: What have Shiff and Nancy done about this they now own the purse strings. Complain the money wasnt spent fast enough after over 5 billion was wasted in Ukraine.
@Nan G, #6:
It is not part of the impeachment process to take a House vote on whether or not to conduct an impeachment investigation and hearings. A vote is not taken until prepared Articles of Impeachment are actually presented to the full House for consideration. The House is following the normal and correct procedure.
It’s also not true that White House representatives have been excluded from the process. They have been formally invited to participate in the Judiciary Committee hearing and have refused. They finally got around to making their refusal official with a rude letter a few hours ago. Their “participation” has taken the form of ordering people to ignore subpoenas and blocking access to evidence.
What does it tell us when none of the people having the most direct knowledge of the situation can be allowed by the White House to appear and testify as “witnesses for the defense”?
@Greg: Not as rude as the one most of us would send the fools, they made the bed let them LIE in it.
They have to take a vote to authorize the subpoena power. They didn’t.
It is true. Only when they had the Judicial hearing that Trump’s representatives were invited, not during the “fact” finding. Democrats have made the entire process as biased as they possibly can.
Funny you don’t regard falsely calling the President a traitor, corrupt, guilty of bribery or abusing his power as “rude”. But, then again, you have no concept of truth.
Uh huh. But what does it tell us? Republicans would have been there to ask them questions.
Instead, we get obstruction at every turn, and claims that it’s been all one-sided because the White House hasn’t been allowed to present witnesses or evidence; that they’ve been deprived of due process.
@Greg: It is impossible to obstruct NOTHING. And that is exactly what this impeachment consists of.
We’ll see how much nothing there is when the trial is conducted in the Senate. That’s a thing apart from whether republicans ultimately block his removal or not. Whatever they do will be done in the spotlight, in an election year, with the whole world watching.
It will be a thing of beauty watching Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Alexandra Chalupa and Adam Schiff testify. Let’s see if they ignore subpoenas.
@Deplorable Me, #14:
Not in the case of standing committees, such as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committee. Their authority to issue subpoenas is also standing, requiring no House vote. This goes with their oversight powers. Ad hoc committees and sub-committees may need to be granted authority before issuing a subpoena.
A Survey of House and Senate Committee Rules on Subpoenas
The Senate itself will be on trial in the court of public opinion. They will turn the solemn and serious business of an impeachment trial into a clown circus before the presiding Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at their own peril.
@Greg: They have their marching orders write up the articles guilty before finding a shred of evidence DO IT, JUMP!
As savvy as this dolt https://twitter.com/mattdizwhitlock/status/1202640057154330624/video/1
They will deal in evidence and facts, not hearsay and opinion. Public opinion is not an issue until the members are up for election (unlike in the House where the Democrats based what they were doing on polls and focus groups). All that matters is the truth, but Democrats think all that matters is propaganda.
When the Senate gets impeachment, the clown show circus will be over. The revelation of facts and Democrat corruption will begin.
December 2, 2019 – Imagining a Senate Trial: Reading the Senate Rules of Impeachment Litigation
How is it going to look when one witness after another directly involved in the matter at hand refuses to show up in response to a subpoena? They got away with it in the House. Think they will again? I can imagine Giuliani laying out his crack-brained conspiracy theory, and someone from the U.S. intelligence community explaining how they already briefed the Senate previously and explained the claims originated with Russia’s intelligence service.
That already happened when Pelosi suddenly reversed and violated her own statements to allow the impeachment to happen.
Just a soft coup, and easily defeated.
Any headway on that civil war you’re trying to start? Seems you lost the African American votes…and are losing more citizens, daily.
@Greg: “Lawfare is only possible because of the large amounts of funding provided annually by the European Union, European governments, church groups, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
After re-election we begin a movement to halt all US taxpayer money from going to anything traceable to George Soros and his UnAmerican activities.
You mean the Democrats that have perjured themselves and fear being held to accounts in the Senate? Otherwise, since the proceedings in the Senate will be based on truth and the Constitution instead of Soviet process, the witnesses will appear.
@Deplorable Me, #26:
No, I mean central figures such as Rudy Giuliani, Rick Perry, John Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Robert Blair, Mick Mulvaney, Brian McCormack, and John Bolton. Any or all may receive special invitations.
Would Giuliani claim executive privilege? He can’t. He’s not a member of the administration. He’s not supposed to be acting as an instrument of foreign policy.
Trump may get away with obstruction of Congress, extortion, and all manner of other bullshit, but it will be no secret that he did, and it will be no secret who let him do it.
@Greg: Demorats jumping ship Pelosi may have to hurry or not get the votes.
The more disasters they call hearings that happen the less support it has.
It is not obstruction of congress to take it to court you idiot.
Why wouldn’t they? This is not a Democrat circus designed to create Democrat soundbites.
I think Giuliani would be THRILLED to testify. Just recently he revealed he has found the $5.3 billion of Obama’s aid to Ukraine was misappropriated. No doubt, there is much more where that came from… all to be revealed in the Senate hearings. Perhaps where some of that aid WENT and to WHOM. Schiff won’t be in a position to block it and exposing the massive corruption in Ukraine (and the Obama administration) basically CLEARS Trump.
Again, remember, YOU wanted this.
@Deplorable Me, #29:
Each and every one of them refused to comply with House subpoenas.
Question No. 1 in the Senate might be Why did you refuse? After that they could play Truth or Consequences. Would they perjure themselves before a Supreme Court Justice to protect Donald Trump? It isn’t a game.
@Greg: That’s because the Democrats made the House proceedings a complete illegitimate hoax. It did not DESERVE to be respected. There’s no need for anyone to perjure themselves unless they are defending impeachment.
Republicans impeached Bill Clinton over a lie concerning an extra-marital fling with another consenting adult. They thought that a single lie concerning something that was none of their damn business to be questioning him about to begin with was worth putting the nation through the impeachment process. Remember?
Compare that will all that Trump has done.
@Greg: There were 7 charges passed down from a Grand Jury for impeachment. Perjury and obstruction of justice were but two of the charges.
Compare that to what Trump has done? Well, considering the FACT that Trump has broken NO laws, that’s kind of difficult.
Obstruction is unlawful. Extortion is unlawful. Soliciting a personally useful political favor in return for an official act of office is soliciting a bribe. Involving a foreign government in a presidential election is unlawful. Ignoring congressional subpoenas is unlawful. They all involve misuse of powers of office, which is unlawful.
And all of this directly affects the security of the United States, which is a helluva lot more than can be said of a consensual fling with a presidential aid, who had to be terrified with threats of prosecution for perjury because she didn’t want file a complaint or testify against the President.
As I recall, it later came out that one of the republican ringleaders was involved in an adulterous affair himself, at the same time he was ranting about Clinton’s evil deed.
@Greg: You are quite correct this is no game, hearsay, pseudo legal experts, and conspiracy better not be all the Democrats have.
Dont forget we have some constitutional experts that have argued before the supreme court sitting in our senate. The House must by law hand over all the “evidence” they have to the defense.
The evidence of mis-used US aid is quite serious the game just might be up. Those that would abet such actions might be “going through some things”.
If it wasn’t for the LawFare blog, Comrade Greggie would not have one damn thing to say.
I would like Comrade Greggie to compare the House subpoena rules he posted with the previous set of rules. The ones he posted were concocted by Nancy Palsi AFTER she became Speaker and Donald J. Trump had been elected. This whole impeachment idiocy was in the works at the time she became Speaker.
Of course, we already know that the Deep State has no respect for attorney/client privilege. Nor does Comrade Greggie acknowledge that there is a thing call Executive Privilege. He claims Mayor Rudy doesn’t have the right to ignore a subpoena, but as the President’s personal attorney, he does.
Rudy may wind up sharing a cell with Paul Manafort or Michael Cohen. Unlike Trump, he isn’t immune from criminal prosecution.
Oh the cries from the last desperate gasps, is exquisite.
We cant cure your insane ideology we dont have to submit to it either.
But they would NOT be witnesses for the Defense.
There is no defense side during the House committee hearings under either Schiff or Nadler.
They would be grilled by prosecutors only.
If a few Republican Congressmen got to ask them anything it would be for a mere 5 minutes each.
The “trial,” including a defense side happens in the Senate.
The House indicts, like any DA can, even a ham sandwich.
And all of that was committed by Democrats, NONE by Trump.
Biden extorted Ukraine to get the prosecutor fired that was investigating Burisma and would have linked Burisma to Biden via his dope-head son. Aid money disappeared while Yovanavich was Ambassador. Biden received $900,000 for “lobbying” from Burisma. I will probably be found that all this was US aid money. Your stupid, corrupt Democrats have dug themselves quite the hole here. There is now but one way out; full exposure of all their crimes in the Senate.
@Nan G, #39:
“Witnesses for the defense” was in quotation marks for a reason. There were no “witnesses for the prosecution” either.
Those who were missing would have been available for questioning by both democratic and republican members of the House intelligence committee, as were all of the other witnesses who showed up. They would have been able to make opening statements and have them incorporated into the record, the same as those who showed up did. If they knew things that favored Trump’s version of events, that information could have been presented. Republicans could have highlighted it by asking the questions that would give them that opportunity.
It isn’t truthful to claim democrats prevented testimony possibly favorable to the President from being heard. People who might have clarified the situation because they were directly involved in it weren’t heard from because they refused to show up when subpoenaed.
Wrong again. Schiff selected his witnesses specifically for their hostility to the President. They were coached, knew the questions Democrats were going to ask, who in turn knew the responses they were going to get. What Republicans asked them was immaterial, because the scheme was for the hearings to be secret with Schiff leaking the rehearsed exchanges between “witnesses” and Democrats.
It is absolutely truthful. Republicans got to call NO witnesses until the open hearings were forced upon Schiff. Even then, Schiff pulled the plug on witnesses that would have confirmed that Trump was looking into corruption, not Biden per se (you Democrats seem to confirm that Biden corruption was absolutely involved) and that, based on the corruption involved, Trump had every right and responsibility to make sure more taxpayer money was not going into graft, as it had in the past. The entire purpose was to make impeachment viable, not discover facts. It failed.