- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 23, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican, was accused Friday of meeting overseas with a former Ukrainian official in search of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden. He has subsequently threatened to take legal action over the allegation.

An attorney representing Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, told CNN that his client learned from former Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin that “Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December,” the network reported.

Joseph A. Bondy, the attorney for Mr. Parnas, told CNN that his client claims to have begun communicating with Mr. Nunes ahead of the trip while the congressman served as chairman of the powerful House Select Committee on Intelligence.

Mr. Bondy said that Mr. Nunes “told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations” into subjects including Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump’s potential opponent in the 2020 election, CNN reported.

Mr. Parnas is one of two Soviet-born businessmen associated with Mr. Giuliani recently charged with conspiring to violate federal election laws. They have pleaded not guilty.

Ed MacMahon, another attorney for Mr. Parnas, previously said that his client helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe in 2018, The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday this week.

Mr. Giuliani worked with Mr. Parnas and his co-defendant, Igor Fruman, as the president and his lawyer pressured Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden; Mr. Shokin served as Ukraine prosecutor general before being ousted in 2016 amid concerns over his handling of corruption being raised by the U.S. and others.

Mr. Nunes did not respond to requests for comment, CNN and The Daily Beast each reported. He issued a statement Friday evening threatening lawsuits against the news outlets, however.

“These demonstrably false and scandalous stories published by the Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth,” Mr. Nunes said in a statement, Breitbart News reported late Friday.

“I look forward to prosecuting these cases, including the media outlets, as well as the sources of their fake stories, to the fullest extent of the law. I intend to hold the Daily Beast and CNN accountable for their actions. They will find themselves in court soon after Thanksgiving,” added Mr. Nunes.

Mr. Shokin could not be reached for comment, CNN reported.

Mr. Nunes has served as the intelligence committee’s ranking member since January when Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives. Democrats leading the House have since initiated an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump triggered by the president having asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Mr. Biden as the U.S. withheld military assistance from Kyiv.

Mr. Parnas is willing to testify in front of Congress about the allegations involving Mr. Nunes, his lawyer told CNN, according to the network.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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