'It’s an Abuse of Power': GOP Seeks Recourse for Schiff Snooping on Congress and Press

By Ferrechio, Susan | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, December 6, 2019 | Go to article overview

'It’s an Abuse of Power': GOP Seeks Recourse for Schiff Snooping on Congress and Press


Ferrechio, Susan, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


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. …

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