Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican member on the House Intelligence Committee, is reportedly threatening to sue CNN and The Daily Beast after the publications reported damaging allegations that could implicate him in the ongoing impeachment probe the committee is currently conducting.
Nunes—who has been one of President Donald Trump’s fiercest defenders in the committee where Ukrainian “quid pro quo” allegations are currently being considered—faced calls to recuse himself and even to be investigated after it was alleged that he himself met with Ukrainian officials in order to discuss digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
If accurate, the claim would implicate Nunes in the events his committee is investigating: president Trump and associates allegedly attempting to enlist a foreign government to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent, while Congressionally approved aid was withheld until the request was met.
The allegations came from lawyers for Lev Parnas—a Ukrainian-born American who worked as a “fixer” for Rudy Giuliani before being indicted on charges of using foreign money to make illicit campaign contributions.
The lawyers, Joseph Bondy and Ed MacMahon, told CNN and The Daily Beast that Parnas helped Nunes arrange meetings with various Ukrainian officials, including ousted Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin, during a secret trip to Vienna in December 2018.
Nunes told Breitbart News that he now plans to sue the publications, although he did not specify what was he believed to be factually incorrect with any of their reporting.
“These demonstrably false and scandalous stories published by The Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth,” Nunes said.
“Some political operative offered these fake stories to at least five different media outlets before finding someone irresponsible enough to publish them.
“I look forward to prosecuting these cases, including the media outlets, as well as the sources of their fake stories, to the fullest extent of the law.
“I intend to hold The Daily Beast and CNN accountable for their actions. They will find themselves in court soon after Thanksgiving.”
Nunes did not offer any further detail, such as the identity of the political operative shopping the story or the media outlets that rejected them. The CNN and The Daily Beast both noted in their reports that Nunes ignored repeated requests for comment.
The lawyers for Parnas have earlier confirmed that their client was willing to comply with a Congressional subpoena for documents and testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry.
On Twitter, Bondy suggested that Parnas was already in conversation with the House Intelligence Committee, but this is yet to be indepently confirmed.
Bondy also said that Parnas had “hard” evidence that proved he met with Trump in order to directly discuss the desired Ukrainian investigations into Biden and his son Hunter.
Trump has denied meeting or knowing Parnas—a tactic he commonly appeared to use when staff or contacts become politically inconvenient—although pictures showed them at the White House together.