Rep. Sensenbrenner: “We See A Clear Abuse Of Power” By House Democrats

REP. JIM SENSENBRENNERThank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I would like to follow up on the two series of questions the Ranking Member, Mr. Collins, directed at Mr. Goldman relative to the telephone company subpoenas and the inclusion of certain information in the majority report provided by the Intelligence Committee. Let me say that there are two issues involved. One that is not involved is the legality of the subpoena. I believe that that was a subpoena that is fully authorized under the law and that and under congressional procedures. Where I do have a problem, and a really big problem however, is the fact that somebody made a decision to match certain megadata that had been collected through the subpoena with phone numbers of journalists and members of Congress. That is the beginning of a surveillance state, which I think is outrageous, particularly since with the Freedom Act in 2013 we curtailed the NSA’s ability about that. Now, had Chairman Schiff decided to man up and come here and talk, rather than hiding behind Mr. Goldman, his chief investigator, as his surrogate or leigette if you will, I think we could have gotten to the bottom of this and we could have taken action to make sure that this never happens again. I do not want to see members of Congress through their subpoena power being able to subpoena the telephone records of private citizens willy nilly without any kind of cause or to match the numbers up with somebody else to see who they were talking to, and going the next step and publishing the results of that match in a report that the minority hadn’t seen until it was released. That is an abuse of power. We’re talking a lot about abuses of power here in the White House and the executive branch. Here we see a clear abuse of power from the people who are prosecuting this impeachment against the President of the United States. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Now, I come from the state where Joe McCarthy came from. I met Joe McCarthy twice when I was first getting into politics as a teenager. Folks, you have made Joe McCarthy look like a piker with what you have done with the electronic surveillance involved. It is something that has to be put a stop to now, it is something that has to be fessed up to now, whether it’s you, Mr. Goldman that authorized the matching and the publication, or whether it was Chairman Schiff. I would’ve loved to put Chairman Schiff under oath so that he could be required to answer the same way you have, Mr. Goldman, on how this all happened. But, as one who has spent quite a bit of time curtailing the excesses of the Patriot Act, which I authored, with the Freedom Act, which I also authored, the surveillance state can get out of control. This is a major step in the surveillance state getting out of control in the hands of Congress and in the hands of a majority party that wants to influence political decisions relative to politicians, in this case President Donald Trump, that they don’t like and they haven’t like him since the beginning of his term. They have tried to talk about impeachment since the beginning of his term, they thought that the Mueller report was going to be the smoking gun, it ended up being a cap pistol, now they’re working on this. And the steps that they have gone, the violation of common sense, the precedent that they have started, and looking at the way the Chairman has conducted this hearing today and in the previous hearings, not even to allow Mr. Gaetz to make a point of order, that he can’t even see what you put on the screen, I think it goes against the entire fabric of American democracy. Shame on those who have done it and if we want to get back to something objective, maybe it’s time to push the recess button.