Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif), a defender of President Donald Trump during the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, said he will seek legal recourse after his phone records were released by the House Intelligence Committee he sits on, adding that the phone records do not match with what Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Democrats put in the report.
Nunes told “Fox & Friends” that “I believe I am the first member of Congress, and I believe my staff and former staff, are the first ones ever to have their phone records exposed like this.”
The Intelligence Committee voted to adopt a 300-page report on findings from its impeachment inquiry into Trump, claiming he misused his office and withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into a potential 2020 rival. Trump and Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have denied the allegations.
The report included call records of Nunes, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, former Hill investigative journalist John Solomon, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and others.
“And then, of course, over the two weeks before Thanksgiving, I think they were embarrassed by their lack of evidence they were able to present through the hearings,” he told Fox News. “So, what happened is, the Friday before Thanksgiving, this fake news story drops about me supposedly being in Vienna. And then we get back from Thanksgiving and then—lo and behold—my name, along with one of my current staff people…and a former staff person, all of a sudden our civil liberties are violated because our phone records show up in this report.”
Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Schiff, told The Washington Times that investigators didn’t issue a subpoena to Nunes or any other member of Congress amid the inquiry.
“Any questions about the fact that Members, congressional staff or journalists appear in call records released by the Committee should be directed at those individuals, who were in contact with individuals of investigative interest to the impeachment inquiry,” he told the paper.
Nunes was asked by the Fox News panel about whether he spoke to Lev Parnas, an alleged Giuliani associate, as many times as Schiff claimed.
“Well, let me tell you what I have. I can tell you that it doesn’t match.” Nunes said. “So, I have one call with Rudy Giuliani in April, one in May. Substantive calls…The rest of the calls are where either somebody didn’t connect or it was a voicemail.”
He added that he received an incoming call from a woman who he believed to be Parnas’s wife.
“I would do what I would normally do in a situation where you don’t recognize somebody, you don’t know somebody: you say ‘thank you very much. Let me get you to the appropriate staff person,'” he noted.
When he was asked about whether he had a conversation with Parnas about Ukraine, Nunes demurred.
“I didn’t recognize the name until just in the last month when he was indicted, because I didn’t know who the person was,” added Nunes. “I can tell you that there’s no way that I talked about me being in Vienna meeting with random Ukrainians; that didn’t happen. Right? So, I can tell you we didn’t talk about that because that didn’t happen.”