Congressional records show that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) flew to Europe at the same time that Rudy Giuliani’s indicted crony Lev Parnas says the congressman met with an ousted Ukrainian prosecutor in a hunt for dirt on Joe Biden.
Nunes and three aides flew to Europe last year on Nov. 30 and returned Dec. 3 at a cost to taxpayers of $63,000, according to congressional records unearthed by The Daily Beast. According to Parnas, Nunes met in Vienna last December with controversial former Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin, CNN reported Friday. Shokin was forced out of office by the Ukrainian Parliament over corruption concerns in 2016 under pressure from the U.S. and Western allies. Biden was a key part of the effort to drive him out when he was vice president.
Shokin himself informed Parnas — who has been indicted on federal campaign finance violations — about the meeting with Nunes, according to CNN.
The meeting could turn out to be explosive for Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, who lambasted Democrats and the media at impeachment hearings.
Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig noted in a CNN interview Saturday that Nunes may have done exactly what Trump is being accused of: using his office to solicit something of value (dirt on Biden) from a foreign national — a “corrupt prosecutor” — to use in a political campaign.
“It is really bad news for Devin Nunes,” said Honig, who noted the “sheer hypocrisy” of Nunes “up on his high horse ... preaching about what’s right and wrong” at House impeachment hearings. His actions are “arguably a crime,” said Honig. “It’s a federal crime for a person to try to solicit something of value to a political campaign from a foreign national.”
High-ranking House Democrat Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on MSNBC that it was “quite likely” that Nunes will now face an ethics investigation linked to the meeting allegation.
Giuliani said on Fox News that he doesn’t believe Nunes met with Shokin. But “if he did, there would’ve been nothing wrong with it,” he insisted.
Donald Trump and his supporters have argued that Biden as vice president tried to stop Shokin from investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter. In fact, Biden was working on behalf of the U.S. and other European nations to drive Shokin out because he was soft on corruption.
Nunes called reports of Parnas’s claim “demonstrably false,” but offered no specifics. He told Breitbart Friday that he planned to sue CNN and The Daily Beast, which were the first to report Parnas’s allegations.