Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, defended his conversations with President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani that were revealed in the House Intelligence Committee’s report released Tuesday.
The ranking member argued Democrats are crafting “conspiracy theories” in an attempt to control the narrative on impeachment.
The House Intelligence report included phone records indicating that Nunes and a member of his staff were in contact with Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas in April and May amid efforts by Trump’s personal attorney to get Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter, as well as into the 2016 presidential election.
Democratic lawmakers on the committee, including Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said they found the contacts uncovered in the report Tuesday “deeply concerning” and that the California Republican could have been “complicit” in Giuliani’s attempts to dig up dirt on one of President Trump’s political rivals.
When asked about the allegation that he was helping to dig up dirt on the former vice president, Nunes demurred, brushing the accusation off as the Democrats’ futile attempt to win a losing game.
“Well, I think it’s what happens when it shows that you’re losing and you’re losing badly, right, when you’re willing to take phone records and then contrive up new conspiracy theories. I haven’t actually been able to read how they’ve detailed this, but what I’m hearing is that it’s some new conspiracy theory about how we’re now involved with the firing of an ambassador or something — I mean it’s really crazy town,” Nunes told reporters on Wednesday.
Nunes said there was nothing inappropriate about their conversation, adding that while he doesn’t remember “exactly what was talked about,” he would be comfortable releasing recordings if they exist.
“Yeah, I mean I talked to Giuliani all the time, especially at that point when those calls were made — that was right when Mueller totally flamed out and the Russia hoax blew up. And so it’s really the first time I had spoke to Giuliani because he was the president’s lawyer, we were conducting an investigation so we didn’t want to have any discussions during that whole Mueller probe,” he continued.
“So at the end of that, and that’s when those calls occurred, and I’ve talked to him a handful of times. And so, whatever conspiracy theory they’re dreaming up, it’s more of just their Watergate fantasies.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said he has concerns over Schiff obtaining the phone records of the top Republican on the committee.
“I want to know all the people that Adam Schiff is spying on. I mean, there’s reports that he was spying on a journalist. Are there other members of Congress that he’s spying on, and what justification does he have?” the Louisiana Republican told reporters on Wednesday.
Scalise went on to claim that the House Intelligence Committee, led by Schiff, has continued to operate under the shroud of secrecy — a common Republican criticism throughout the impeachment process.
”And what’s going on? I mean, he does all these meetings in secret. They literally last night had votes on impeaching the president of the United States behind closed doors in secret.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also defended Nunes’s interactions with Giuliani, telling reporters on Tuesday Nunes “has a right to talk to anybody.”
Nunes accusations of Democrats pushing a “conspiracy theory” comes as Democrats have accused some Republicans of pushing a conspiracy theory by suggesting Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.