Posted by Curt on 7 December, 2019 at 3:16 pm. 48 comments already!


A decision by the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to obtain and publish the call records of the top Republican on the panel has sparked outrage and a demand for answers by GOP leaders, who said they might seek “recourse.”

Republicans want to know why House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff obtained and published call records tied to Rep. Devin Nunes, a California colleague and the top Republican on the panel, in the panel’s 300-page impeachment report released earlier this week.

Republicans told the Washington Examiner that Schiff obtained 3,500 pages of phone records, including calls between Nunes and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as calls between Nunes and Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

A top Republican aide told the Washington Examiner the GOP is considering “a wide variety of strong responses” to Schiff’s actions.

In an exchange Friday with Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Republican Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, demanded to know what Democrats planned to do with the stack of call records. Scalise said it appeared Schiff was politically targeting Nunes and journalist John Solomon, who wrote about alleged Ukraine collusion with Democrats.

“How many other members of Congress is the chairman spying on?” Scalise said to Hoyer in the House floor exchange. “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.”

Hoyer said his “knowledge of the matter … is not very deep,” but said Schiff 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.”

Republicans have grown increasingly alarmed over the published call data since Schiff released the report on Tuesday.

Schiff included the calls to back up the report’s assertion of “a smear campaign” against then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Schiff identifies Nunes as one of the “key players” in the “scheme” to smear Yovanovitch and get Trump to remove her.

Schiff cited a Solomon article that reported Yovanovitch played a role in blocking U.S. visas for Ukraine officials who wanted to come to the United States and disclose efforts by Democrats to undermine the 2016 Trump campaign.

“Over the course of the four days following the April 7 article, phone records show contacts between Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Parnas, Representative Devin Nunes, and Mr. Solomon. Specifically, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas were in contact with one another, as well as with Mr. Solomon,” the report states. “Phone records also show contacts on April 10 between Mr. Giuliani and Rep. Nunes, consisting of three short calls in rapid succession, followed by a text message, and ending with a nearly three-minute call. Later that same day, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Solomon had a four-minute, 38-second call.”

The report includes a series of calls from Parnas to Nunes in April, but most are only a few seconds long. Nunes has said he does not recall speaking to Parnas in an eight-minute call and a one-minute call that is also included in the record.

Schiff obtained the records from AT&T using a subpoena, and he did not seek the records of Nunes or Solomon. Instead, data referencing the two men were swept up in subpoenas of the phone records of both Giuliani and Parnas, who was recently indicted for funneling foreign money into U.S. campaigns.

Schiff defended obtaining the Nunes and Solomon data and said it suggested wrongdoing by Nunes, who Democrats have long vilified for his alliance with Trump.

“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.

Democrats have discussed taking action against Nunes over the calls, although it is not clear what rule he violated, if any, by talking to either Parnas or Giuliani.

Hoyer, on Tuesday, said, “there are serious questions” about the calls between Nunes and Giuliani and Parnas. He said Democrats “need to look at them and see what action ought to be taken if any.”

Nunes said he was likely discussing the Mueller report during his calls with Giuliani.

“I remember talking to Rudy Giuliani, and we were actually laughing about how Mueller bombed out,” Nunes said on Fox News.

Republicans want to know more.

Rep. Greg Walden, of Oregon, who is the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the telecommunications industry, wants the GOP to take action in response to Schiff’s acquisition and use of the Nunes and Solomon data.

“I’m deeply troubled by it,” Walden said on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers.

“Are you criminally investigating Devin Nunes? Is that what’s going on here?” he said.

Walden said he was surprised AT&T turned over the information, and he wants to know more about the other data Schiff acquired through subpoenas and how he plans to use it.

Walden said he is also concerned about the data obtained from Solomon, who wrote stories about Ukraine’s cooperation with Democrats in 2016.

“Are we going to have committee chairs in Congress snooping around reporter’s emails and phone calls, and who you talk to? And then releasing it? Under what terms and conditions?”

Read more

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x