As the House’s impeachment inquiry proceeds, new questions remain about the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, Devin Nunes of California. He filed an angry lawsuit against CNN claiming defamation for their reporting on an allegation that he cooperated with indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, but call records that impeachment investigators released reveal that Nunes was actually in repeated contact with Parnas, who’s been hit with federal campaign finance law violation charges. Now, Parnas lawyer Joseph Brody has spoken out publicly against Nunes, insisting that investigators should “Let Lev Speak.”
‘Hey @DevinNunes —Lev remembers what you spoke about. You don’t remember? #LetLevSpeak’
— Joseph A. Bondy (@josephabondy) December 6, 2019
The allegation underlying Nunes’s lawsuit against CNN includes him meeting with disgraced former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who then-Vice President Joe Biden demanded that Ukraine fire over concern that he wasn’t being vigilant enough in combating corruption. Separately Parnas and Igor Fruman actually connected personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani himself with Shokin at one point, although there remains no evidence for the Trump team claim that Biden did anything corrupt in his pressure against the now former prosecutor.
Despite the straightforward evidence, Nunes is struggling to even admit that he ever spoke to Parnas at all.
Asked about communications with Parnas, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity:
‘You know, it’s possible, but I haven’t gone through all my phone records. I don’t really recall that name, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.’
Okay but — the records are right there. They’re a part of the impeachment inquiry report that the House Intelligence Committee released shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly said that the House would be pursuing formal articles of impeachment against the president.
Nunes still tried to undercut and downplay the whole situation anyway. He told Fox News host Martha MacCallum, who asked what he talked about with Parnas:
‘I don’t even know, because I’ve never met Parnas. And like I filed in federal court — so it’s a great question because many people want to know, including myself. You have to remember: We are the House Intelligence Committee Oversight Committee, so we get calls from people every day. I get them from all over the world, allies and people that aren’t our allies. In this case, I just don’t know.’
To be clear — according to the Parnas phone records released by House Dems, Nunes actually placed the calls to Parnas at least twice. On April 12, Parnas called Nunes and the call lasted for about one minute, Nunes called Parnas back twice, and then Parnas returned the favor, and they spoke for at least eight minutes. It’s all right there. Nunes is making confusion where in reality, there isn’t any.
This mess is unfolding as that impeachment inquiry against Trump proceeds. Although Republicans claim that the inquiry is all about hatred and retribution, the evidence is on the Democrats’ side, chronicling the president’s plot to exchange dirt on the Bidens from Ukraine for military aid and a summit in D.C.