Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) claimed on Tuesday that he didn’t remember speaking to Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani indicted on campaign-finance charges, after House Democrats released as part of their impeachment report phone records showing frequent calls between Nunes and Parnas.
Parnas, Giuliani, and another associate named Igor Fruman have been accused of conspiring to oust former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Giuliani also has been accused of helping President Trump push Ukrainian officials to investigate corruption allegations against political rival Joe Biden.
Yovanovitch testified as part of the impeachment inquiry against Trump that Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani wanted her gone “because they wanted to have business dealings in Ukraine, or additional business dealings.”
The call records that Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released show Nunes speaking with Parnas and Giuliani on multiple occasions in the days leading up to Yovanovitch’s dismissal. Nunes said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that “it’s possible” he spoke to Parnas.
“But,” Nunes went on, “I haven’t gone through all my phone records. I don’t really recall that name. I remember the name now because he’s been indicted.”
“I’ll go back and check all my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people,” he added.
HANNITY: Did you ever talk to this guy [Lev] Parnas or whoever his name is?
NUNES: You know, it's possible, but I haven't gone through all my phone records. I don't really recall that name. … But it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people. pic.twitter.com/XlMJAY2Pzq
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) December 4, 2019
Republican leaders backed Nunes after the phone records were released.
“Devin Nunes has a right to talk to anybody,” House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) told reporters on Tuesday.
Nunes sued CNN on Tuesday over a report alleging that Parnas is prepared to testify that Nunes met with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Victor Shokin to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
“From all the evidence in its possession, CNN was well-aware that Parnas was a renowned liar, a fraudster, a hustler, an opportunist with delusions of grandeur, a man in financial in extremis,” the lawsuit says.