Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is suing CNN and The Daily Beast after the two networks published stories claiming he met with a Ukrainian prosecutor to “dig up dirt” on former Vice President Joe Biden. Nunes said on Fox News Monday night that he intends to conduct “discovery” in court and predicted that the two news outlets would “run for cover.”
“Discovery” is the pre-trial phase in a court case where each party can obtain information and facts in preparation for trial, and he predicted that the two news outlets would “run for cover.”
A lawyer for Lev Parnas, a recently indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, peddled the story to a number of outlets that Nunes met with former Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in Vienna late last year to discuss the Biden dirt. Parnas was indicted in October for conspiring to violate the ban on foreign donations.
According to the CNN report, the attorney, Joseph A. Bondy, said that Shokin told Parnas that he met with Nunes last December. The Daily Beast reported that Parnas said he also “helped connect Nunes to Ukrainians who could provide information on Biden and Democrats in Ukraine.”
On Friday, a left-wing outside group filed an ethics complaint against Nunes with the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) based on the smear.
The Democratic Coalition, which was co-founded by Scott Dworkin, a shameless Democrat operative who peddled outrageous Russia conspiracy theories on Twitter for years, alleges that Nunes violated House rules by having a conflict of interest in the impeachment inquiry.
“Rep. Nunes is currently engaged in overseeing an investigation which it appears he is a fact witness, and which may examine his own activities meeting with foreign officials,” the Democratic Coalition wrote in its complaint.
BREAKING: Here's the text of The Democratic Coalition's House Ethics complaint against Rep. Devin Nunes for abusing his office and failing to recuse from the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry. #DevinNunesGotCaught pic.twitter.com/yUGsSZhlMJ
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) November 23, 2019
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was mum when asked about the allegations against Nunes on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday but said that it could be “an ethics matter.”
“We have had discussions with the Southern District of New York in terms of Mr. Nunes’s conduct. If he was on a taxpayer-funded [congressional delegation] — and I say if — seeking dirt on a potential Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden, that will be an ethics matter. That’s not before our committee,” Schiff said, declining to go into specifics.
On Fox News, Nunes called the stories “totally false,” and “the mother of all fake news stories,” vowing that he would hold both outlets “accountable.”
“I understand the last week and a half, it was a it was a disaster for them. It was a train wreck for them,” Nunes said on “Hannity.”
“So what did they have to do? They had to come out and say, well, look, Devin Nunes was actually the one that was meeting with all of these Ukrainians. So sorry, CNN. It’s totally false.”
Vicky Ward, the reporter who wrote the story for CNN, tweeted on Saturday that Bondy told her that his client would not have made the claims unless he had “text messages” to back them up. Ward has apparently not even seen the alleged text messages, which supposedly show evidence that Nunes was in Ukraine “digging up dirt” on Biden.
Lev Parnas’s attorney has told me that his client would not be making these claims if he didn’t have text messages and other such evidence to back them up.
— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) November 23, 2019
After the stories broke on Friday, Nunes immediately put out a statement calling the reports “demonstrably false” and threatening legal action. He told host Sean Hannity that five other media outlets were also tipped to the hoax story but declined to run it.
“For all of the last three years, including the Russia hoax to the Ukraine hoax, this is the mother of all fake news stories. There is not one bigger than this,” Nunes said.
“And so next week, we are going to take them to court. They will have an opportunity to come to court so that we can subpoena each other. We can get discovery. We can set people down for depositions. And I have a bet for you, Sean. CNN and The Daily Beast are going to run for cover. They’re going to fight this. They’re not going to show up in court. They’re not going to accept service.”
Nunes vowed to track them down and hold the fake news outlets accountable because “this has gone on for too long.” He added, “this is the only way we’re going to be able to to get retribution and get in and be able to seek fairness and transparency in the media is by holding them accountable.”
On a fake news scale of 1 to 100, Nunes rated the CNN and Daily Beast stories as a 1,000.
“I don’t know how to describe it better,” he told Hannity. “I made a clear statement on Friday night: demonstrably false and scandalous fake news.”