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Judicial Watch, a government watchdog, filed a lawsuit against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and his committee on Friday for failing to respond to a public records request.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information related to how Schiff obtained the personal phone records of Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), reporter John Solomon, and several American citizens, including Trump’s lawyers during the Democrats’ impeachment investigation.
The suit alleges that Schiff is withholding information despite the “common-law right of public access to examine government records” after receiving a FOIA on Dec. 6, 2019.
“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?” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said
Judicial Watch’s FOIA request sought records of “all subpoenas issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on or about September 30, 2019 to any telecommunications provider including, but not limited to AT&T, Inc., for records of telephone calls of any individuals.”
As TheBlaze reported, the House Intelligence Committee released its committee’s 300-page impeachment report on Dec. 3, which included private phone records for Giuliani, Nunes, and others. Schiff has refused to say how or why he obtained the information.
Nunes said at the time that he would take legal action against Schiff for exposing his phone log.
“I believe I am the first member of ever to have [my] phone records exposed like this,” Nunes told Fox News in early December.
“We’re definitely going to take legal action,” he added. “We need to get to court to try to stop that from happening again.”
Judicial Watch argues that if Schiff obtained the phone records lawfully, then he should have nothing to hide. “The records are of critical public importance as the subpoenas were issued without any lawful basis and violated the rights of numerous private citizens,” the organization said in a press release. The watchdog group argued that disclosing the records would serve the public interest by providing information about the unlawful issuance of the subpoenas.
“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,” Fitton added.