|Nunes and Parnas.|
I have long viewed Rep. Devin Nunes (R) as little better than an agent of Vladimir Putin and someone utterly unfit for office. Like Donald Trump, Nunes uses lies, deceptions and the undermining of political norms to further causes destructive to American democracy and acts like one of Trump's crime syndicate "soldiers." Now, as CNN is reporting, it appears that Nunes was part of the effort to blackmail Ukraine and fabricate dirt on Joe Biden - all of which was/is a criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, the slimy, amoral Nunes is striving to protect Trump in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Nunes needs to be forced from the House Intelligence Committee now investigating improper actions of which he was/is a part. The GOP increasingly looks to be little more than one large criminal operation. Here are highlights from CNN:
A lawyer for an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani tells CNN that his client is willing to tell Congress about meetings the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee had in Vienna last year with a former Ukrainian prosecutor to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.
The attorney, Joseph A. Bondy, represents Lev Parnas, the recently indicted Soviet-born American who worked with Giuliani to push claims of Democratic corruption in Ukraine. Bondy said that Parnas was told directly by the former Ukrainian official that he met last year in Vienna with Rep. Devin Nunes.
Nunes is one of
PresidentDonald Trump's key allies in Congress and has emerged as a staunch defender of [Trump] the President during the impeachment inquiry, which he has frequently labeled as a "circus." Nunes declined repeated requests for comment.
Bondy tells CNN that his client and Nunes began communicating around the time of the Vienna trip. Parnas says he worked to put Nunes in touch with Ukrainians who could help Nunes dig up dirt on Biden and Democrats in Ukraine, according to Bondy.
That information would likely be of great interest to House Democrats given its overlap with the current impeachment inquiry into
PresidentTrump, and could put Nunes in a difficult spot.
Bondy tells CNN his client is willing to comply with a Congressional subpoena for documents and testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry in a manner that would allow him to protect his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Parnas' claims that Nunes met with Shokin, which has not been previously reported, add further context to a Daily Beast report that Parnas helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for Nunes last year, citing another Parnas' lawyer, Ed McMahon.
Those revelations came to a head on Thursday when Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell raised the Daily Beast story publicly during the impeachment hearing.
Parnas, who was indicted on federal campaign finance charges last month, worked with Shokin and Giuliani to push a pair of unfounded claims: that Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats, and that Biden was acting corruptly in Ukraine on behalf of his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.
"Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election," Bondy told CNN.
There is no evidence that the Bidens acted inappropriately. Nor is there evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Ukraine worked with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election.
Yet these claims have been a key part of the public defense of [Trump]
the Presidentput forth by Nunes and other Republicans during the impeachment hearings this month.
Bondy tells CNN that Parnas is also willing to tell Congress about a series of regular meetings he says he took part in at the Trump International Hotel in Washington that concerned Ukraine. According to Bondy, Parnas became part of what he described as a "team" that met several times a week in a private room at the BLT restaurant on the second floor of the Trump Hotel. In addition to giving the group access to key people in Ukraine who could help their cause, Parnas translated their conversations, Bondy said.
In the weeks since his arrest, Parnas has become disenchanted with Trump and Giuliani, according to Bondy as well as other sources who spoke to CNN. Parnas, these sources say, was particularly upset when Trump denied knowing him the day after Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman were arrested in October. . . . "He believes he has put himself out there for [Trump]
the Presidentand now he's been completely hung out to dry," a person close to Parnas told CNN.
On Thursday, Bondy promoted the hashtag #LetLevSpeak on Twitter in response to a number of questions about whether Parnas would testify in front of Congress.
Bondy tweeted directly at Republican California Rep. Kevin McCarthy Thursday night after McCarthy accused Schiff of blocking important witnesses from testifying, saying "I don't agree with your premise, but please, if you mean what you say, call my client, Lev Parnas. #LetLevSpeak."