Here’s Nunes’ Bumbling Defense Of Those Key Giuliani, Parnas Calls

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA) looks on during testimony by Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia; and David Hale, under secretary of st... WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA) looks on during testimony by Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia; and David Hale, under secretary of state for political affairs, before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fourth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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December 4, 2019 10:54 a.m.
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House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) defense of those crucially-timed calls with key Ukraine schemers is about as solid as his conspiracy-laced approach to his panel’s impeachment hearings last month.

Upon revelations that Nunes was in contact with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas during key periods of their Ukraine pressure campaign, the lawmaker claimed ignorance and, as he often does in a pinch, filed another defamation lawsuit.

During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening, Nunes outlined his latest $400 million-plus lawsuit against CNN for publishing a story about his December 2018 meeting with the ex-Ukrainian prosecutor at the heart of the efforts to push Ukraine to probe Trump’s political rival. He claimed CNN had an “axe to grind” and slammed the network for relying on an “indicted” person as a source. Parnas’ lawyer spoke to CNN on the record about the allegations.

Nunes denied that he had ever met with the former prosecutor Viktor Shokin before he went on to suggest that maybe he should “reach out to Shokin and see what he actually has to say.” Shokin is at the heart of the conspiracy theory that Giuilani and Parnas were peddling in Ukraine to try to urge the Ukrainian government to investigate the Biden family.

Nunes then defended the numerous conversations with Giuliani cited in House Intelligence Committee Democrats’ report as merely friendly conversation between two pals who have known each other “for a long time.” He claimed that at least some of the contacts took place around the time special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released.

“We were actually laughing about how Mueller bombed out,” he said.

“Did you ever talk to this guy, Lev Parnas, whoever it is?” Hannity mildly pressed, giving Nunes cover to whip out the “do not recall” defense despite having contact with Parnas at least four times on the same day in April.

“It’s possible, but I haven’t gone through all my phone records, I don’t really recall that name. I remember the name now because he has been indicted, but why would CNN rely on somebody like this? And I’ll go back and check all my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people,” he said, before launching into a diatribe about how he takes calls and information from a lot of people, even those citizens who “see me on the street.” He then threatened Parnas and his lawyer.

“And I will tell you this, anything that we have from Parnas and his lawyers, whatever game they are up to, we will work directly with the Justice Department to make sure that these guys aren’t just trying to obstruct justice, to obstruct our congressional investigation, or to lie to Congress,” he said. 

The flimsy defense continued on Fox News Wednesday morning.

A network legal analyst, who often bends to parrot Nunes conspiracies during his appearances on the show, gave the lawmaker further cover by daring to suggest that, perhaps, it wasn’t even Nunes on those crucially timed phone calls.

“The only new thing that I picked out of yesterday’s was this communication between Devin Nunes, Rudy Giuliani, and the White House. In what way, if any, is that problematic?” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade asked legal analyst Gregg Jarrett.

“Well we just don’t know because we don’t know the details,” Jarrett said. “In fact, it’s a call log. Does that mean that Devin Nunes was actually on the call or somebody else? And we don’t know the import of it.”

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