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Cornyn Says Giuliani 'Not Relevant' To Senate Trial, Calls Parnas A 'Grifter'

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On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee released text messages that show an aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — the top Republican on the committee — in frequent contact with now-indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, which further exposes Nunes’ ties to Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign to dig up false allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden.

“That’s a relationship that causes many of us to sort of scratch our heads,” Cornyn said, when asked whether he has any questions for Giuliani in light of the Nunes-Parnas text messages. “I’d say [Giuliani is] not relevant to the articles and what the Senate is going to be asked to do, impeaching a president for the third time in American history for a non-crime over events that never occurred.”

When asked earlier in the interview about the text messages between Nunes’ aide and Parnas, Cornyn appeared to characterize the indicted Giuliani associate — who claimed last week that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” — as a “grifter.”

“There is no question that there have been a series of grifters and other hangers-on that have associated themselves with the President’s campaign or claim to have special relationships with the President, but this is not the issue that the Senate is going to be deciding,” Cornyn said.

Cornyn added that the Senate will “take the issue of evidence as it comes.”

“If the impeachment managers want to rest their case on the credibility of someone who is under indictment in the Southern District of New York with extensive ties to Russian oligarchs and organized crime … then that’s their choice,” Cornyn said.

Watch Cornyn’s remarks below:

About The Author

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Summer Concepcion is the front page editor of Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Previously, she covered the 2016 presidential election for Fusion and worked as a researcher at The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She's an LA native and former Chicago transplant. Reach her at summer@talkingpointsmemo.com