Earlier this year, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) met a former Ukrainian diplomat named Andrii Telizhenko, who has been peddling the debunked conspiracy theory alleging collusion between the DNC and Ukraine in 2016.
Telizhenko told the Daily Beast on Tuesday that he spoke with Nunes for approximately 15 minutes during a housewarming party in May, saying they had “an interesting conversation.”
“He’s well aware on Ukraine politics and from what I understood, he’s a true patriot in the United States,” the ex-diplomat said. “And that’s how I saw it. It was interesting for me to meet him.”
Telizhenko said Nunes “had a really interesting and good impact” on him.
“We talked about how to fight Russian aggression in Ukraine and Russian propaganda,” he told the Daily Beast.
Nunes isn’t the only Trump defender who’s spoken with Telizhenko; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) also met the former diplomat earlier this year to discuss what Telizhenko referred to as “the DNC issue.”
Telizhenko has been fueling the baseless conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections to help the Democrats. President Donald Trump and lawyer Rudy Giuliani have latched onto that false claim in their efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rivals, to the point where Trump used congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into the matter.
Nunes’ office did not immediately respond to request for comment.