The House Intelligence Committee's 300-page impeachment report released Tuesday made public previously undisclosed and "hugely incriminating" phone records that showed Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the committee, spoke with President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani multiple times amid the Trump administration's scheme to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
According to the records, Nunes was also in contact with Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate who was indicted in October on campaign finance charges.
Communications between Nunes—a fervent defender of the president—and individuals at the center of the Trump administration's months-long effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden were viewed as "far and away the most damning" revelation in the Intelligence Committee's sprawling impeachment report, which accuses the president of attempting to "use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election."
"I think he has a lot of explaining to do," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said of Nunes.
The Intelligence Committee report states that the calls between Nunes, Giuliani, and Parnas came on the heels of an April 7 column in The Hill by right-wing writer John Solomon, who alleged "wrongdoing by American Democrats and their allies in Kiev."
"Over the course of the four days following the April 7 article, phone records show contacts between Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Parnas, Representative Devin Nunes, and Mr. Solomon," the report says. "Specifically, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas were in contact with one another, as well as with Mr. Solomon."
"Phone records also show contacts on April 10 between Mr. Giuliani and Rep. Nunes, consisting of three short calls in rapid succession, followed by a text message, and ending with a nearly three minute call," the report continues. "Later that same day, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Solomon had a four minute, 39 second call."
Notable in this report is the phone records obtained by the committee, which show, among other things, Giuliani conversations with OMB in April and calls involving Nunes, Giuliani, Parnas, John Solomon and more pic.twitter.com/yd57jnairj
— Jeremy Herb (@jeremyherb) December 3, 2019
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As The Daily Beast's Lachlan Markay noted, the phone records show that Nunes—who has repeatedly attempted to discredit the impeachment probe into Trump by alleging improper conduct by House Democrats—"had engaged in his own behind-the-scenes communications with the very people at issue in the whistleblower complaint."
"Nunes never revealed those communications during the weeks of committee testimony," Markay pointed out.
In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity Tuesday night, Nunes said he doesn't recall talking to Parnas, who said last month he is prepared to testify that Nunes met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor in Vienna last year to dig up damaging information on Biden.
Hannity: Did you ever talk to this guy Lev Parnas?
Devin Nunes: You know it’s possible but I haven’t gone through all my phone records. I don’t really recall that name. pic.twitter.com/NY8PXPdUC9
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) December 4, 2019
Asked on Tuesday about Nunes' appearance in the call records, House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said "it is deeply concerning that at a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress complicit in that activity."
Late Tuesday, the Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to send the report to the House Judiciary Committee, which is holding its first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday.