Judicial Watch said on Friday that it had filed a lawsuit against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and the House Intelligence Committee for subpoenas and other documents requested by the government watchdog. The documents relate to the release of phone records of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and other Americans earlier this month.
The government watchdog said it filed the suit in the federal court (pdf) after it received no response to a record request sent on Dec. 6 seeking all subpoenas issued by the Intelligence Committee on “any telecommunications provider including, but not limited to AT&T, Inc., for records of telephone calls of any individuals” and any responses received in the course of issuing the subpoenas.
The watchdog made the request after the Democrats disclosed details of private phone calls, including the time of day and duration of each conversation, of Nunes, Republican committee staff members, two of President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys including Giuliani, and investigative journalist John Solomon in their impeachment report (pdf) released on Dec. 3.
The report shows dozens of call records in the April 10-24 timeframe, including calls between one of the president’s personal attorneys, Rudy Giuliani, and Nunes. The records reflect several conversations between investigative journalist Solomon and Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani. Parnas also spoke with Nunes and Giuliani, the records show. The logs also feature calls between Giuliani and the White House, among others.
Schiff has denied issuing subpoenas for Nunes and Solomon’s phone records during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“But it’s very important to point out … we did not subpoena Devin Nunes’s call records. We did not subpoena any journalist’s call records. And that is simply false information being pushed by the president’s allies,” Schiff said.
Judicial Watch argued in their court filing that it was critically important to seek the records because the committee’s subpoenas were “issued without any lawful basis and violated the rights of numerous private citizens.” It added that obtaining the requested records would provide the public information about how the subpoenas were issued.
“Adam Schiff abused his power to secretly subpoena and then publish the private phone records, in potential violation of law, of innocent Americans. What else is Mr. Schiff hiding?” Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch President, said in a statement.
“Schiff and his Committee ran roughshod over the rule of law in pursuit of the abusive impeachment of President Trump. This lawsuit serves as a reminder that Congressman Schiff and Congress are not above the law,” he added.
The Democrats’ move to disclose the details of the phone calls received widespread criticism because the phone conversations were considered sensitive, in particular, Nunes’s phone records. Nunes is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.
In a statement, Nunes called the Democrats’ move a “gross abuse of power” but added that it was “characteristic of the way Schiff has run” the impeachment inquiry.
“He’s going to need a long rehabilitation period when this is over,” Nunes said.
Schiff’s communication director did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.