(TNS) Former federal judge and Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Sunday that House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) may well have violated the law when he obtained cellphone records of a fellow panel colleague and an investigative reporter during his ‘impeachment inquiry’ last month.
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But first, in discussing the recently-released report on FBI abuses of the FISA Court with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, the former AG noted that there was a glaring piece of evidence showing bias by the bureau that hasn’t been explained by either of two reports put forth by DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
He explained that among the texts between former FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page was one where they discussed ending the investigation against 2016 Democratic residential contender Hillary Clinton faster because Trump was going to be the Republican nominee.
That, Mukasey said, was clear evidence of political bias. However, he acknowledged that Horowitz does not have subpoena power so he essentially had to take witnesses at their word.
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But, he continued, U.S. Attorney John Durham, currently conducting a criminal probe of the origins of Spygate,Â doesÂ have that power, as well as the authority to convene a grand jury and issue indictments.
Then, regarding Schiff’s efforts to obtain the phone records of Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and investigative reporter John Solomon, Mukasey said what was improper was the manner in which they were retrieved.
Schiff sought the phone records of five individuals including Nunes and a member of his staff, Solomon, and the personal attorneys of the president, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow.
Mukasey said Congress does not have power under the law to subpoena records directly from phone companies. He added that they can only be obtained by bona fide law enforcement agencies or if the company is trying to save a life.
Neither of those instances fit Schiff’s request (which doesn’t explain, fully, how he actually obtained the phone records — did the phone company violate the law or did Schiff get them in some other nefarious manner, perhaps from someone within the Intelligence Community?).
Nunes has already said he plans to file a lawsuit over the records release and the clear attempt by Schiff to try and smear those whose records were requested/obtained.
Mukasey noted further that it’s a big problem if any member of Congress can simply go to a phone company and demand someone’s records, adding that Schiff needs to explain himself.
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