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Republicans Insist Schiff Should Testify, Phone Records Suggest Nunes Should Too

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Republicans Insist Schiff Should Testify, Phone Records Suggest Nunes Should Too

2019-12-05 13:07:31

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Devin Nunes (Image source: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

Republicans may want to clean up their own yard before they start throwing too many stones. They have been insistent and indignant that House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) needs to testify in the House Judiciary hearing, but now it seems another voice that should be heard from is Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who seems more and more involved in the Ukraine scandal as the days go by. 

After the whistleblower lodged a complaint about Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Republicans have been insisting Schiff spoke with the whistleblower before the complaint was made and that he knows the identity of this person, but he contends that's not true. Although the whistleblower did speak to his office looking for advice, he did not see the complaint or talk to that person and does not know who they are.

Nevertheless, it has come up repeatedly that the GOP wants Schiff to take the witness stand, with Nunes leading the charge. It came up during the Intelligence impeachment hearings, and this week some Republican lawmakers are insisting that they need him to testify during the Judiciary hearings.  

The ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins (R-GA), found it "problematic" that Schiff hadn't published his committee's report on the impeachment inquiry and demanded he testify before the Judiciary Committee because of that. Yet now that the report has been released, Republicans don't seem to have much to say.

What really seems "problematic," though, is the report that came out last week that Nunes had reportedly traveled to Vienna to speak with Viktor Shokin, the former prosecutor who then-Vice President Joe Biden was chasing out of office. Lev Parnas's attorney, Joseph Bondy, said Shokin later told Parnas about it. 

This caused Nunes to deny it but not have any initial answers when he first appeared on TV to defend himself. However, now he is pushing a $435 million lawsuit against CNN, reporter Vicky Ward who wrote an article about it, and newsman Chris Cuomo, who discussed the accusation on air, which Nunes alleges was to boost the network's ratings and help the impeachment inquiry.

He may have wanted to wait before filing that lawsuit, however. In the impeachment inquiry report that Republicans were insisting needed to be released, is the records of pertinent phone calls and texts. The originators aren't disclosed, but it's believed these communication records are from Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and associate Lev Parnas.  

The former mayor of New York was known to have been pushing the investigations of Biden and his son Hunter as well as one of the 2016 election, and Trump then offered Ukraine a White House visit and military aid if they would conduct the investigations.

Some of the disclosed phone calls were with Nunes. Earlier this year there were numerous calls between Nunes and Giuliani and between Nunes and Parnas. The lawmaker claims he was speaking to Giuliani about Robert Mueller's investigation.  

So while Nunes was hammering away at Schiff, demanding that he testify because he had contact with the whistleblower and knew about the complaint, that claim appears to be wrong, and even still, if Schiff should testify to those facts, certainly the Judiciary Committee should also hear from Nunes on what he was doing in Vienna last year, if he spoke with Shokin, and why he happened to be talking a lot with both Giuliani and Parnas.

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