Rep. Devin Nunes, one of the president’s top defenders during the impeachment saga over the past couple of months, seems to be in hot water himself over the question of his contacts with Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Parnas, who allegedly helped Giuliani during his quest for dirt in Ukraine against the Bidens, has been indicted by federal officials on charges of conspiracy, making false statements to investigators, and falsifying records within alleged schemes to break election laws, according to a report from NPR.
During his detainment, his lawyer told CNN that Parnas had knowledge that Nunes, while traveling to Europe, had met with a controversial Ukraine oligarch, purportedly on the same mission to dig up dirt that would help the president.
That prompted Nunes to threaten, and eventual file, a lawsuit against the network. Nunes said it was irresponsible for CNN to print allegations against him from Parnas, whom the lawmaker described as a “renowned liar,” a “fraudster,” and a “hustler” in his lawsuit.
Hours after the lawsuit was filed, however, the House Intelligence Committee released a report, which included phone logs of a number of individuals — including some that showed Nunes and Parnas interacted with one another on a frequent basis, New York Magazine reported. Which begs the question: if Parnas was a “fraudster,” according to Nunes’s own account, why would he himself be talking to him on such a regular basis?
A reporter from The Intercept, Lee Fang, wanted to get to the bottom of things. During a Republican event on Saturday, Fang asked Nunes if he would talk to him about the content of the calls he made to Parnas.
Instead of answering Fang’s questions — or even acknowledging them — Nunes pulled out his phone and took a picture of the reporter. He then posted the reporter’s image on his Twitter timeline, and claimed Fang had been stalking him at the event.
“This guy stalked me in hotel lobby after my appearance on @foxandfriends Saturday AM,” Nunes complained.
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) December 8, 2019
Fang described his interactions with Nunes quite differently, and provided documentary evidence that showed his actions weren’t as terrifying as the California Republican described them as. “I walked up calmly and asked a simple news question to the congressman,” Fang said in a tweet. “You can see everything I actually said and Nunes’ trembling hand while he silently took my picture in the video I posted.”
In the tweet that included the video, Fang described Nunes’s hand as “visibly shaking” while he recorded him. The video, which shows Nunes making the recording of Fang, seems to confirm the reporter’s account at around the 0:50 mark.
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 8, 2019
In a subsequent tweet, Fang explained that other individuals who were at the same event that Nunes was at were much more cordial, even agreeing to speak with them. The event had been a Republican fundraiser, and after Nunes had complained about The Intercept’s presence there, he requested that they be told to leave. The reporter described what happened in detail…
“This was an event with many, many members of the House Republican caucus. Several lawmakers spoke to us as they arrived or left the hotel for the NRCC fundraiser upstairs,” Fang said. “No one was ‘stalked.’
“Shortly after this brief interaction with Nunes, he had a Capitol Police officer stationed at the event ask hotel staff for us to leave the hotel, which we obliged without hesitation. The man with the beard seen next to Nunes then left the hotel and followed us around the block.”
Many on social media commented on Nunes’s interactions with Fang, including Phil Arballo, the Democratic candidate who is hoping to defeat Nunes in 2020. Using a GIF image from the hit movie Men in Black starring Will Smith — in which Smith’s character uses a device to wipe people’s memories — Arballo suggested Nunes had wanted the discussion with Fang (if you can call it that) to have gone a little differently…
— Phil Arballo (@PhilArballo2020) December 9, 2019