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Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who promised to sue CNN and the Daily Beast, said this week on “Sunday Morning Futures” that the only way to hold the “corrupt” media accountable is to challenge them in federal court.
Nunes first threatened legal action on Friday, after both outlets published stories claiming the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee had met with Ukranian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in Vienna in 2018 to push for an investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden. Both stories cite former Rudy Guliani associate, Lev Parnas, who was indicted in October for conspiring to violate the ban on foreign donations, prompting Nunes to question the validity of the source.
“I’ve been used to this for the last three years,” Nunes told Fox News. “The House Intelligence Committee Republicans, we continue to expose Democrat corruption over and over again. And what always happens is right when we expose them… they go out to kill the messenger.”
“So this week — another fake news story. The problem with this week’s fake news story is — we actually caught them,” he continued. “And we caught them badly and it also involves criminal activity… We are going to take both CNN and the Daily Beast likely into federal court, right after Thanksgiving and we hope they cooperate.”
The Daily Beast originally broke the story about Nunes’ alleged meeting on Thursday, citing Parnas’ lawyer Ed MacMahon as their source. The Beast also cites congressional travel records which it claims shows Nunes traveled to Europe from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018, along with three of his aides. CNN followed up with an article on Saturday, citing Parnas’ other lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, who said Nunes was put in touch with officials who could help him dig up dirt on the Bidens.
Nunes told Fox News it was inappropriate for a news organization to take the word of someone who is attempting to smear a congressman, while still under federal indictment.
“It is not OK to work with someone who has been indicted on [a] serious federal crime, to build a media narrative and dirty up a member of Congress,” he said. “You’ve seen it, the American people have seen it over the last three years. We out them, and then they come out with a media narrative to try to dirty up the people who are doing the work on behalf of the American people.
“So we hope that CNN and Daily Beast will cooperate with the court,” Nunes continued. “They should comply with the subpoenas once we file this and go through different depositions. It should be fun.”
Host Maria Bartiromo asked Nunes if he wished to elaborate further on his involvement in the case, but he declined to go any deeper, saying he would not debate the issue through the media.
“I really want to answer all these questions,” he said. “But I think you can understand that I can’t compete by trying to debate this out with the public media when 90 percent of the media are totally corrupt. And because this is criminal in nature and because it’s so bad, it’s so slanderous — we’ve got all the facts on our side and we’re going to file in federal court, because I’m not going to sit here and try to compete against the media that I have no chance of winning this. I will win in court.”
Nunes did, however, say it’s “likely” that CNN and the Daily Beast committed criminal activity, and claimed the only way to find out the truth is to have them answer questions under oath.
“It’s very likely [they committed a crime], or they’re an accessory to it,” he said. “So none of this is true… We will get to all the facts when it’s filed in court. But somehow they’re either witting or unwitting of listening to somebody who’s been indicted and not only that, but it’s their lawyers. So you’re talking about third and fourth hand hearsay to do what? To dirty up the leader of the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee that just destroyed their complete narrative that they’ve been pushing.”
Nunes provided a statement to Breitbart on Friday when news of a lawsuit first broke, calling the charges “demonstrably false” and “reckless.”
“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,” Nunes told Breitbart News. “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.”