Devin Nunes, GOP Impeachment Warrior, Appears to Have Deep Ties to Trump's Ukraine Effort - 2019-12-03
When it was first reported that Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas was willing to testify to Congress that Devin Nunes had actively participated in the effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and smear an American diplomat, the California Republican dismissed the stories as "fake" and "demonstrably false." But he didn't deny the allegations themselves. Instead, he dodged. "I really want to answer all of these questions," Nunes, who is, remarkably, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News host Maria Baritomo, before decidedly not answering questions about his involvement in the Ukraine scandal engulfing Donald Trump and the White House. And now, it appears Nunes has even more explaining to do.
Shortly after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, the House Intelligence Committee released its report on the inquiry into whether Trump withheld a White House visit and military aide from Ukraine to benefit himself politically, which included previously unreported call records that provide a window into Nunes's involvement. Notably, the records—which AT&T provided to the committee—suggest Nunes was actively involved in the smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. As the effort to oust the veteran diplomat gained momentum after John Solomon, a former opinion contributor to The Hill, published a series of unfounded allegations about her and the Bidens, Nunes was in contact with a number of key figures.
The phone records, according to the report, reveal five phone calls on April 10 between Nunes and Giuliani, who was actively promoting Solomon's articles on social media and in conservative media. Nunes also had multiple contacts with Parnas, who like Giuliani was pushing the false allegations against Yovanovitch and the Bidens. Nunes and Parnas exchanged four calls ranging in duration from zero seconds to almost nine minutes on April 12. That same day, Parnas was also in touch with Solomon, Giuliani, and Victoria Toensing, a frequent Fox News guest. (On the same day, former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko hired Toensing as his lawyer.) Additionally on April 12, Giuliani was in contact with the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, and Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for President Trump.