Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D-Calif.( on Tuesday released the panel’s highly anticipated report on its multi-week impeachment inquiry, concluding that President Donald Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. The 300-page report also contains several references to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), not in his capacity as the Ranking Member of the Committee presiding over the proceedings, but as a point of contact for the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, his recently indicted business associate Lev Parnas, and opinion columnist John Solomon, .
The timing and frequency of Nunes’s communications with three of the central characters at the center of the impeachment inquiry into the president’s alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine left many legal experts particularly suspicious of the Ranking Member’s impartiality to the proceedings.
Phone records provided by AT&T revealed that in the days after Solomon authored an article accusing former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch of covering up wrongdoing by Biden, contact between the four men spiked. “Specifically, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas were in contact with one another, as well as with Mr. Solomon. Phone records also show contacts on April 10 between Mr. Giuliani and Rep. Nunes, consisting of three short calls in rapid succession, followed by a text message, and ending with a nearly three minute call.”
Nunes also had an eight-minute phone conversation with Parnas on April 12. Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman were indicted in October on suspicon of violating federal campaign finance law. Along with Giuliani, both men are also being investigated by federal prosecutors for their role in ousting Yovanovitch, a known anti-corruption adovcate, in favor of someone more amenable to their business interests.
Nunes’s former senior staffer Kash Patel on May, 10 traded phone calls with Giuliani before the two spoke for over 25 minutes. Immediately after their call, Guiliani spoke to Parnas for approximately 12 minutes.
“Puts [Nunes’s] ridiculous attempts at gaslighting during the House Intel Committee impeachment hearings in some new perspective, doesn’t it,” NYU Law professor Christorpher Spigman said in response to Nunes’s apparent communication with a since-indicted individual.
In a twist, Nunes, who failed to divulge that he had been in direct behind-the-scenes contact with figures of interest in the panel’s investigation, on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against CNN, accusing the media outlet of reporting “demonstrably false” information regarding his involvement with Parnas, Giuliani, and Solomon. The report was based on statements made by Parnas’s attorney Joseph A. Bondy and Nunes declined to respond to requests for comment.
In that lawsuit, Nunes called CNN the “mother of fake news” and criticized that outlet of using as a “‘trusted’ source” a man “indicted by the United States Government, charged with multiple Federal crimes – a man who faces years in a Federal penitentiary – Lev Parnas.”
Alabama Circuit Judge Bob Vance said if he were CNN he would file an immediate answer to Nunes’s lawsuit and serve him with notice of a deposition, forcing him to answer questions under oath. Some have argued that Nunes’s lawsuit could backfire for reasons like this: discovery is a two-way street.
Following the release of the Intel Panel’s report, a seemingly vindicated Bondy chastised Nunes for not recusing himself from the impeachment proceedings.
“Devin Nunes was definitely part of an attempt to gather information about the Bidens. He was definitely involved in Ukraine. He definitely had involvement in the GOP shadow diplomacy efforts in Ukraine, contrary to his claims,” Bondy added.
CNN declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Read Nunes’s lawsuit against CNN below.
[image via Youtube screengrab]
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