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Top anti-impeachment Republican threatens to sue 'corrupt media' over claims he too was secretly trying to dig up dirt on Bidens

Vittoria Elliott
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Representative Devin Nunes, one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken defenders and the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, is threatening to sue media organisations for reporting that he too may have sought to help the president dig up dirt on the Bidens.

Mr Nunes has been part of the congressional panel questioning witnesses in the impeachment hearings, often bringing debunked conspiracy theories into his line of interrogation.

A CNN report on Friday says that Lev Parnas, an associate of Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani now facing charges of campaign finance violations, arranged a meeting between Mr Nunes and former Ukrainian prosecutor ViktorShokin in Vienna in December of 2018.

However, when questioned on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, Mr Nunes did not deny that he had gone to Vienna. Instead, he side-stepped the question, saying: “Everybody’s going to know all the facts, but I think you can understand, I can’t compete by trying to debate this out with the public media when 90 percent of the media are totally corrupt.”

Devin Nunes, Republican ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, left, confers with Republican staff attorney Steve Castor during the impeachment hearing evidence of Fiona Hill and David Holmes: AP
Devin Nunes, Republican ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, left, confers with Republican staff attorney Steve Castor during the impeachment hearing evidence of Fiona Hill and David Holmes: AP

Vienna is the current home base of Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is part of the “upper echelon associates of Russian organised crime”, according to the US Department of Justice.

Mr Firtash is facing extradition to the US for charges of bribery and corruption, which he is in the process of fighting. He is a close associate of Mr Shokin.

According to Time, Mr Firtash furnished Mr Guiliani with documents to help them discredit Mr Trump’s opposition, specifically former vice president Joe Biden and special counsel Robert Mueller. This was supposedly part of a legal strategy meant to make it look like his prosecution was tied to a Biden-centred political conspiracy, and hopefully stay his extradition.

In addition to working directly with Mr Guiliani, Mr Parnas previously served as a translator for Mr Firtash’s legal team, Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova​. Both Ms Toensing and Mr DiGenova have worked with Mr Guiliani in the past and make regular appearances on Fox News.

Mr Parnas and Igor Fruman, both associates of Mr Guiliani, were on their way to Vienna with one way tickets when they were arrested in Washington, DC on October 9. Both deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Parnas has said he is willing to testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee about Mr Nunes’ involvement.

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