One of the more startling developments of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into alleged wrongdoing by President Donald Trump regarding his Ukraine policy was that the chairman of that committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), used his committee’s subpoena power to acquire phone records of another member of Congress.
That member of Congress was his counterpart on the committee, ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
During a press gaggle at the U.S. Capitol, reporters asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) if he would be willing to use his subpoena power as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to acquire Schiff’s phone records. Graham rejected the notion and warned of the consequences.
“No, I don’t have any desire to subpoena Adam Schiff’s phone records,” Graham said. “We’re not going to do that. No, we’re 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. But when House members and Senate members start subpoenaing each other as part of oversight, the whole system breaks down.”
The South Carolina Republican warned of “chaos” if members of Congress were to set a precedent of subpoenaing one another’s phone records.
“I think what he’s doing is setting a very bad precedent,” Graham said. “When politicians start subpoenaing phone records of another politician as part of an oversight process, which is sometimes very partisan, it becomes very problematic for us to do our job. Now, none of us are above the law. So if you had a special counsel or grand jury, then you would be subjected like every other citizen. But you could invoke defenses of being a member of Congress. You’ll have a certain status there. But when we start looking at each others’ phone records and who we talk to, that gets to be chaos, and I will have no part of that.”
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