Never-before-seen call logs reveal that Rep. Devin Nunes – the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee – was in touch with Rudy Giuliani and his indicted associate Lev Parnas as they schemed to get the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed.
The call logs, provided to House Intelligence Committee Democrats by AT&T, were a new piece of evidence in the impeachment inquiry, and were included in a draft report put out Tuesday.
They show that Nunes, one of impeachment’s most vocal critics, was dialed by both Giuliani and Parnas as the men sought to replace Amb. Maria Yovanovitch with a diplomat more willing to pressure the Ukrainians into investigating President Trump’s emerging political rival Joe Biden.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the committee that’s been handling the House impeachment investigation, was named in a new report that said he had been called by both Rudy Giuliani and the lawyer’s indicted associated Lev Parnas
Rep. Devin Nunes (left) had been in touch with Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas as they worked to oust U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more willing to pressure the Ukrainians into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden
Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a lawyer for President Trump, has become a central character in the impeachment inquiry, as he called Rep. Devin Nunes in the days following The Hill newspaper running a negative op-ed about Amb. Marie Yovanovitch
Rep. Devin Nunes was also called by Lev Parnas (pictured), who’s been accused of making illegal political contributions using foreign money. A lawyer for Parnas told the Wall Street Journal that Parnas and Nunes discussed corruption investigations in Ukraine
In the report, Nunes’ name comes up on the heels of conservative writer John Solomon opining in The Hill newspaper that Yovanovitch was holding up visas for Ukrainian officials who wanted to travel to the United States and deliver evidence against ‘American Democrats and their allies in Kiev.’
‘Over the course of the four days following the April 7 article, phone records show contacts between Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Parnas, Representative Devin Nunes and Mr. Solomon,’ the report said.
Giuliani and Parnas, who was charged in October with violating U.S. campaign finance law, were in contact with one another, and with Solomon.
Rep. Devin Nunes received calls from Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas as the two pushed for the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch (pictured), who later became an impeachment inquiry witness
‘Phone records also show contacts on April 10 between Mr. Guiliani and Rep. Nunes, consisting of three short calls in rapid succession, followed by a text message, and ending with a nearly three minute call,’ the report continued.
On April 12, the report says that there were at least four calls, or attempted calls, between Parnas and Nunes.
Ed MacMahon, a lawyer for Parnas, told the Wall Street Journal that the April 12 calls focused on investigations into corruption in Ukraine.
‘They weren’t talking about where to find sushi in Kyiv,’ MacMahon told the paper. ‘Lev is in a position to fill in all these blanks and explain what actually happened with all these phone calls. But he remains under indictment in the Southern District of New York, and he needs to protections to tell his story. He needs immunity,’ the lawyer argued.
The Daily Beast had previously reported that Parnas had aided Nunes in late 2018 as the California Republican traveled to Europe in an effort to gain information about the origins of the 2016 Russia probe.
One call on April 12 between Parnas and Nunes lasted eight minutes.
Within an hour of that conversation, Parnas had spoken with Giuliani.
Giuliani then called up President Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow and had dialed a ‘White House phone number.’
The efforts of Giuliani and his associates were successful when on April 24, Trump officially demoted Yovanovitch.
She was one of the witnesses called by Democrats to appear before the House Intelligence Committee during the panel’s week of public impeachment testimony last month.
The impeachment inquiry is now moving to the House Judiciary Committee with a public hearing with Constitutional experts scheduled for Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was asked by reporters about Nunes’ role in the scheme and if the ranking member should recuse himself from the House’s impeachment vote.
‘It won’t surprise you, I’m going to reserve comment,’ answered Schiff at an afternoon press conference after the draft report was released.
‘I think, deeply concerning that at a time when the President of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity,’ he continued.
Of Nunes being named in the call logs, Schiff said there was a ‘lot more to learn.’
‘And I don’t want to state that that’s an unequivocal fact,’ Schiff added of Nunes being involved in the Ukraine scheme.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, pointed to the newly released call logs when talking to CNN about Tuesday’s report.
‘I would look at the phone records where we couldn’t get witnesses to come in, we subpoenaed outside, third-party phone records and that kind of weaves together the timeline and corroborates a lot of what the witnesses testified to who did come in,’ Swalwell said.
A spokesperson for Nunes has yet to return a request for comment.
On Capitol Hill, he ignored a CNN reporter who tried asking about his inclusion in the Democrats’ report.
Nunes, then the chairman of the committee, previously had recused himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling once the House Ethics Committee opened a probe into whether the California Republican had disclosed classified information.
At the time, Nunes was suggesting that the Trump campaign may have been unfairly surveilled.