Schiff Lawyers Claim "Sovereign Immunity" In Lawsuit Over Doxing Of GOP Phone Records
House attorneys for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the Intelligence Committee he chairs asked the US District Court for the District of Columbia to toss out a lawsuit against them for obtaining phone records of high-profile conservatives which resulted in the 'doxing' of their non-public private information.
The impeachment-related subpoenas resulted in the publication of the private phone numbers for Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), journliast John Solomon, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, attorney Victoria Toensing and others, according to Judicial Watch.
In their 14-page motion Schiff and the Committee claim “sovereign immunity;” “Speech or Debate Clause” privilege; immunity from FOIA and transparency law; that the records are secret; and that Judicial Watch and public do not need to see them.
Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit under the public’s common-law right of public access to examine government records after it received no response to a December 6, 2019, records request (Judicial Watch v. v Adam Schiff and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (No. 1:19-03790)):
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 all records of telephone calls of any individuals
All responses received to the above subpoenas. -Judicial Watch
Schiff is being sued in his capacity as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. According to the lawsuit:
The records are of critical public importance as the subpoenas were issued without any lawful basis and violated the rights of numerous private citizens.
Disclosure of the requested records would serve the public interest by providing information about the unlawful issuance of the subpoenas.
The requested records fall within the scope of the public’s right of access to governmental records as a matter of federal common law.
"Schiff’s new court filing to try to avoid disclosing his abusive subpoenas of confidential phone records suggests he and Congress can secretly subpoena and publish the phone records of any American with zero accountability under law to the people," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, adding "Speaker Pelosi and every House member should be asked if they agree that they are above the law and can spy on any American."