Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., penned a Fox News op-ed Sunday calling for Rep. Adam Schiff’s phone records to be subpoenaed, after the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee obtained phone records as part of his party’s partisan impeachment inquiry and released them.
Included in phone records Schiff subpoenaed were calls involving Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, as well as President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and investigative reporter John Solomon.
“I join many Americans in being sick and tired of powerful, entrenched Democrats like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff breaking rules, crossing the line and never being held accountable,” Banks wrote. “This is why I’ve called for a tit for tat. I want Schiff’s phone records to be subpoenaed by the only person in Washington with the power and opportunity to do it.”
That being Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
“None of these people were notified that their call records were being subpoenaed. They were surprised to see their private phone records published in Schiff’s report arising out of the impeachment inquiry his committee conducted regarding President Trump,” Banks added.
“It doesn’t take a constitutional lawyer to recognize that subpoenaing these call records violates the spirit of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures.”
Banks noted that Nunes said Saturday on “Fox & Friends” that he will take legal action in response to Schiff’s decision, “to get to court to try to stop that from happening again.”
“I believe I am the first member of Congress ever to have [my] phone records exposed like this,” Nunes said, according to Banks. “We’re definitely going to take legal action.”
Banks said Schiff is “so brazen” here because “he knows he’ll get away with it.”
“Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media have given Schiff a free pass,” he penned. “They’ve gleefully folded Nunes and his phone records with Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, in their snowballing conspiracy theory that is fueling the impeachment inquiry.”
Banks’ op-ed is a follow up to a letter he sent last week to Graham, calling for him to subpoena AT&T for Schiff’s phone records, along with the phone records of former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Mark Zaid, the attorney for the whistleblower.
When asked about it by reporters, Graham said Schiff “is setting a very bad precedent.”
Taking the high road that Democrats routinely eschew, the senator said he “will have no part of that.”
“No, I don’t have any desire to subpoena Adam Schiff’s phone records,” Graham said. “We’re not going to do that. I’m not going to do that. I wouldn’t want my phone records subpoenaed.”
“Now, if some investigative body outside of Senate oversight wants to do it, that’s up to them,” he added. “When House members and senators start subpoenaing each other as part of oversight, the whole system breaks down.”
Saying he shares Graham’s concern, Banks said in Sunday’s op-ed that it’s a matter of fighting back — not exactly a Graham strong suit, of late.
“I want to be very clear – I think surveilling members of the opposite political party is a disgrace. But I don’t think it will stop unless we start fighting back. We need to show Mr. Schiff that he can’t just abuse his power and get away with it,” Banks said.
“If we don’t push back against this impeachment sham, we all lose. The country loses,” the Republican lawmaker concluded. “We need to signal to Democrats they will not get away with their abuse of power anymore.”
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