Devin Nunes Goes to War With CNN Over “Demonstrably False” Story
It was the top story in the political media on Friday evening – a seemingly-bombshell report from CNN telling us that indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is ready to testify to Congress that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) went to Vienna last year to dig up dirt personally on Joe Biden.
But while it seems accurate enough for CNN to pass along this information from Parnas’s lawyer, there’s considerable reason to doubt the veracity of the lawyer’s claims. Parnas, after all, is feeling aggrieved about President Trump’s cold shoulder, and he’s already vowed to turn on him to whatever extent House Democrats would like. Since all of this is obviously being done to secure a better deal from the Justice Department, one has to take anything Parnas says with a grain of salt unless he coughs up some documentary evidence.
“The attorney, Joseph A. Bondy, represents Lev Parnas, the recently indicted Soviet-born American who worked with Giuliani to push claims of Democratic corruption in Ukraine,” CNN reported. “Bondy said that Parnas was told directly by the former Ukrainian official that he met last year in Vienna with Rep. Devin Nunes.”
“Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December,” Bondy told CNN. “Nunes had told Shokin of the urgent need to launch investigations into Burisma, Joe and Hunter Biden, and any purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.”
If true, this information would obviously cast Nunes – one Trump’s top defenders in the House – in a bad light. But that’s the thing – is it true? Or is Joseph Bondy just another Michael Avenatti, willing to spread and concoct absurd tales of fantasy in a vain effort to “get Trump” and his supporters? Does this story have any merit to it whatsoever, or are we back in Steele dossier “Michael Cohen went to Prague” territory?
Clearly, Devin Nunes is having none of it.
In a statement to Breitbart, the ranking member of the House Intel Committee said: “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. Some political operative offered these fake stories to at least five different media outlets before finding someone irresponsible enough to publish them. 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.”
CNN has the right to craft a news story around a lawyer’s claims, of course, but if they didn’t take a reasonably-skeptical approach to unproven allegations, they could indeed be held liable for defaming Nunes. In any event, when you combine this with White House official Kash Patel’s lawsuit against Politico, it’s clear that Trump and his supporters are no longer willing to let fake news go unchallenged.