On Tuesday, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., filed suit against CNN for defamation after the airport staple ran a hit piece that falsely reported that the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor in Vienna last December to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Both Nunes and his supposed Ukrainian contact, former Prosecutor General Victor Shokin, immediately countered the charge. In his lawsuit, Nunes punctuated the denial by detailing where he had been during the time period in question.
“Between November 30, 2018 and December 3, 2018, Devin Nunes visited Benghazi, Libya on official business of the House Intelligence Committee to discuss security issues with General Khalifa Haftar. Devin Nunes also traveled to Malta, where he met with U.S. and Maltese officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and participated in a repatriation ceremony for the remains of an American World War II Soldier missing in action,” the complaint read. Nunes also never met Shokin, as CNN reported, he stressed in his lawsuit.
CNN’s source for its story was Joseph Bondy, the lawyer for the Russian-born American Lev Parnas, the latter of whom is currently under indictment for federal election crimes. In addition to telling CNN that “Parnas was told directly by the former Ukrainian official that he met last year in Vienna with Rep. Devin Nunes,” Bondy also told CNN that Parnas “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,” CNN reported Bondy as relaying. Not so, according to Nunes’ lawsuit: He “never communicated with Parnas in December 2018 at the time of the ‘Vienna trip’ (that also never happened),” the complaint stated.
That CNN had peddled yet another fake news story garnered little attention, however, because the same day Nunes filed suit, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the intelligence committee, dropped his 300-page report on the House’s “impeachment inquiry.” Thus attention quickly focused on the listing of Nunes in a telephone log showing calls between the California congressman and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, as well as four April 12, 2019 calls between Parnas’s cell phone and Nunes’s number.
Nunes recalls speaking with Giuliani, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that they had laughed about Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe and how it “completely bombed and flamed out.” Nunes said he didn’t recall speaking with Parnas, though. more here