I don’t know about you, but if I my phone calls turned up in the House impeachment investigation and I had nothing to do with the matter, I’d waste no time trying to prove my lack of involvement. But Nunes keeps dodging questions about his relationship with Parnas.
Devin Nunes said Thursday night he still hasn’t bothered to go through the phone records that indicate he had several calls with Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani. The existence of those calls was revealed in the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report released on Tuesday. In addition, Parnas' lawyer had previously his client has information implicating Nunes in the Ukraine scandal at the heart of the Trump impeachment. But if he did speak to Parnas, Nunes claims to have no recollection what it might have been about.
Tuesday night, Nunes turned up on the Hannity show, where he weaseled on the subject of Parnas. From New York Magazine:
“Did you ever talk to this guy Les Parnas, or whatever his name is?” asked [Sean Hannity]. (That Lev Parnas, who met repeatedly with the president and worked closely for months with his lawyer, has now been demoted to “this guy” indicates how much trouble he poses now that he is cooperating with law enforcement.)
“You know it’s possible,” replied Nunes, “but I haven’t gone through all my phone records.” It’s possible? The House Intelligence Committee has gone through the phone records! Nunes is on the records! This isn’t a hypothetical question!
Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee made it clear that Nunes was aware of both the phone records subpoena and had received the actual records in real time. On MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Schiff said Tuesday night, “Republican members were made aware of the subpoenas that we were sending out. The Republican members were given the same phone records and other records that we received.”
Schiff went on to suggest that Nunes and the Republicans may have chosen to ignore the records: “[Nunes] certainly had possession of the records. Now, how much he looked into them, how much he discussed what they showed with his staff, I really can't say. You'd have to ask him.”
So, presumably, Nunes and his staff had the same amount of time to review the records that the majority had.
Predictably, when Nunes appeared on The Story with Martha MacCallum Thursday night, the host didn’t ask any pesky questions about when Nunes learned that the records had been subpoenaed and/or received. But she did ask what Nunes had discussed with Parnas – in order to hand him an opportunity to “clear the air.” And yet, Nunes still would not or could not say:
NUNES: Well, I don’t even know because I’ve never met Parnas, and like I filed in federal court, and so, you know, it’s a great question because many people want to know, including myself. So –
MACCALLUM: You never had any phone conversation with him?
NUNES: We have not been able to confirm that yet.
MACCALLUM: You don’t think you would remember if you had a conversation?
NUNES: You have to remember, you have to remember, we are the House Intelligence Committee, oversight committee, so we get calls from people every day, all walks of life, I get ‘em from all over the world, allies and people that aren’t our allies. In this case, I just don’t know.
Later, when MacCallum asked if the calls were from cell phones or office phones, Nunes said, “We don’t even know that.”
NUNES: We’re sitting with thousands of pages of metadata of numbers. So somehow, they went through there and found my cell number a few times and what’s even worse is, if that they used that, they selectively used my numbers in order to build on their conspiracy theory … because we embarrassed them with the Russia hoax and that’s what this is all about. It’s about retribution, OK, for what we have done to them the last three years because they don’t like that we outed them with their Russia hoax and now their Ukraine hoax. … So I’m not gonna trust anything that Adam Schiff has to say until we actually go through thousands of pages of metadata.
If Schiff and his staff managed to go through the call records, presumably Nunes and his staff could have, too. And if the records were a surprise on Tuesday, the day the report was released, Nunes certainly had time to go through them by Thursday evening.
But the question of when Nunes or his staff got the call records didn’t seem to occur to MacCallum. Instead, she moved on to suggest Nunes bring some kind of legal action against Schiff.
Watch Nunes continue to avoid answering questions above, from the December 5, 2019 The Story with Martha MacCallum.
Published with permission from News Hounds.