Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) revealed on Wednesday that House colleague Devin Nunes (R-CA) threatened to sue him for saying that he conspired with former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
Lieu disclosed the threat minutes after Parnas spoke about relationship with Nunes and Nunes aide Derek Harvey in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Lieu said Nunes’s attorney wrote him a letter demanding an apology for his comments — or else.
“Amazing Lev Parnas interview on [The Rachel Maddow Show]. Also, I’m disclosing that the lawyer for [Rep. Nunes] wrote a letter saying Rep Nunes will sue me if I didn’t apologize for saying last month that Nunes conspired with Parnas,” Lieu wrote, adding, “Devin, I’m adding to my statement: ‘Your pants are on fire.’”
Amazing Lev Parnas interview on #Maddow. Also, I’m disclosing that the lawyer for @DevinNunes wrote a letter saying Rep Nunes will sue me if I didn’t apologize for saying last month that Nunes conspired with Parnas.
Devin, I’m adding to my statement: “Your pants are on fire.” https://t.co/2nptREunSk
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 16, 2020
Nunes was directly linked to Parnas in telephone logs that were included in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report. Nunes, the Republican ranking member of the Committee, previously said he “did not recall” ever speaking with the Ukrainian-Floridan businessman charged with multiple counts of federal campaign violations and fraud.
On the night Parnas’s cable news interviews were going to air, Fox News’s Martha MacCallum again asked Nunes to explain the call logs.
“If you recall, that [information] was brand new when I came on your show because I just didn’t know the name – this name, Parnas,” Nunes said. “So, what I always like to remind people is that we are dealing with people every day – we’re an oversight committee. So we have incoming calls that come to my office, to my cell phone, etc., etc., and you know now that he had called my cell phone. And I didn’t know his name, I didn’t remember the name.”
Nunes then confirmed that after checking his own records he did, in fact, remember his conversation with Parnas.
So now Devin Nunes is admitting he talked to Lev Parnas… He claims when he was asked a few months back, he didn’t recognize the name Parnas pic.twitter.com/3dgoGfsKFd
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 16, 2020
“I remember that call, which was very odd, random – talking about random things. And I said, ‘great, you know, just talk to my staff and boom, boom, boom,’ which is normal procedure,” he said.
Nunes then said there was absolutely no discussion about former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and that he didn’t hear her name “until this impeachment sham started.”
Nunes has been prolifically litigious in recent months. In 2019 alone, Nunes sued: people accusing him of being a “fake farmer”; a journalist he accused of writing a “click-bait” story about him; Twitter; a fake cow; and the Daily Beast and CNN for claiming the congressman secretly met with a former Ukrainian official in 2018 to obtain dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
[image via ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images]