The top Democrat on the House armed services committee said Saturday that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is likely to face an ethics investigation over allegations he met with an ex-Ukrainian prosecutor at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“Quite likely, without question,” House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash) said when asked by MSNBC’s Joy Reid whether Nunes (R-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican and a longtime Trump ally, could be investigated.
CNN reported late Friday that an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, has information on meetings Nunes allegedly had with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Victor Shokin.
The CNN report says that Lev Parnas, according to his attorney, put Nunes in touch with Shokin to help him gather damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter's dealings with Ukraine.
Nunes called the CNN report “demonstrably false” in an interview with Breitbart.
Shokin, who was ousted from his position for not pursuing corruption against Ukraine's politicians, has been the subject of conservative conspiracy theories that claim Biden forced the country to fire him to stymie an investigation into Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that his son sat on the board of.
“I understand a lot of this is about Joe Biden but the bigger thing is about what President Trump and the Russians and all these people have been doing ... is a systematic problem that is a threat to the country because of what Russia is doing to democracy,” Smith said.
If the House Ethics Committee opens an investigation into the California Republican, it would be his second in two years.
In 2017, investigators cleared Nunes of allegations that he disclosed classified information to the White House related to the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Giuliani came to Nunes' defense Saturday, claiming that while Nunes never met with Shokin, "there would have been nothing wrong" with a meeting between the two. "I would have heard of it if he would have," Giuliani said during a Fox News interview.
The former New York City mayor also chided Parnas for his assertions about the meetings when asked about CNN's reporting, comparing his former client to Michael Cohen, the president's disgraced and imprisoned former personal lawyer.
"Poor Lev. I don't know what he's doing to himself," Giuliani said. "I feel sorry for him."