Is a constitutional crisis brewing? (Updated)
California Congressman David Nunes dropped a bombshell yesterday on the Hugh Hewitt Show, one that could occasion a constitutional crisis. Duane Patterson offers us a transcript at Hot Air:
HH: The idea that this might be a Geithner-Axelrod plan, and by that, the sort of intimation, Henry II style, will no one rid me of this turbulent priest, will no one rid me of these turbulent Tea Parties, that might have just been a hint, a shift of an eyebrow, a change in the tone of voice. That's going to take a long time to get to. I don't trust the Department of Justice on this. Do you, Congressman Nunes?
DN: No, I absolutely do not, especially after this wiretapping incident, essentially, of the House of Representative. I don't think people are focusing on the right thing when they talk about going after the AP reporters. The big problem that I see is that they actually tapped right where I'm sitting right now, the Cloak Room.
HH: Wait a minute, this is news to me.
DN: The Cloak Room in the House of Representatives.
HH: I have no idea what you're talking about.
DN: So when they went after the AP reporters, right? Went after all of their phone records, they went after the phone records, including right up here in the House Gallery, right up from where I'm sitting right now. So you have a real separation of powers issue that did this really rise to the level that you would have to get phone records that would, that would most likely include members of Congress, because as you know...
DN: ...members of Congress talk to the press all the time.
HH: I did not know that, and that is a stunner.
DN: Now that is a separation of powers issue here, Hugh.
I am not clear if the phone(s) in the Cloak Room were specifically covered, or whether it was just the press gallery. Either way, one branch is spying on the other, but the Cloak Room would be political and constitutional dynamic. Stay tuned. We need clarification here.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman
Update: Nunez walks back statement
Clarice Feldman supplies an update to the story:
Rep. Nunez walks back his claim the DOJ seized phone records from the House cloakroom."...He did not mean to refer to phone records of the cloakroom itself, but of the Capitol," said Nunes spokesman Jack Langer.DOJ did seize call logs for a phone in the Capitol used by AP reporters, but that phone is in the press gallery, not the cloakroom."