Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) dodged questions on Sunday from a Fox News host asking whether he met with a former Ukrainian official in 2018 to acquire dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
The lawyer for Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump, told CNN that Parnas is prepared to tell Congress that he is aware of a 2018 meeting between Nunes and former Ukrainian prosecutor general Victor Shokin, who was ousted for corruption in 2016; that he learned of this meeting directly from Shokin; and that the express purpose of the meeting was for Nunes to get information on Biden.
Appearing on “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” Nunes was asked simply whether he had been in Vienna, Austria, with Shokin.
“Look, Maria, I really want to answer all of these questions,” Nunes told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. “And I absolutely will come back on this show and answer these questions,” he said, before saying he couldn’t speak on the matter because it involved law enforcement. But as he continued, Nunes implied that unfavorable coverage, rather than procedural carefulness, might explain why he would not say whether he’d met with Ukrainian officials for dirt on a U.S. presidential candidate.
“I can’t compete by trying to debate this out with the public media when 90% of the media are totally corrupt,” Nunes said. The congressman went on to make the unfounded claim that it is “very likely” that CNN committed crimes in reporting the story, and he threatened to take the network to court to discover the process by which the report came together.
Nunes has been one of the White House’s most reliable allies in Congress, particularly when it has come to defending allegations of presidential misconduct. In 2017, as the investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia kicked into full swing, Nunes reportedly coordinated with the White House on ways to spin the story into a conspiracy about anti-Trump sentiment within the intelligence community. And as the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine has moved forward, Nunes has repeatedly suggested — contrary to U.S. intelligence officials own assessments — that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on Democrats’ behalf.
Nunes told Bartiromo the the CNN report about his own effort in Ukraine is “demonstrably false,” but he declined to state which parts were untrue or provide any evidence to support his claims. In fact, congressional records indicate that Nunes traveled to Europe with Hill staffers on Nov. 30, 2018 ― or, as CNN put it — in “late 2018.”
Watch the full exchange between Nunes and Bartiromo: