Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit under the 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. Adam Schiff and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (No. 1:19-03790).
Judicial Watch announced today [March 19, 2020] that Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the lawsuit against them for the controversial impeachment-related subpoenas for phone records, including those of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer. Schiff and the Committee are being represented by the Office of General Counsel for the House of Representatives.
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.
“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,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Speaker Pelosi and every House member should be asked if they agree that they are above the law and can spy on any American.”
To me, I think Fitton has a strong case against a claims of an increasingly imperial minded Dem House. Congress undoubtedly has investigative powers, but it is not a law enforcement branch of the government. We'll see whether the courts are intimidated.