But now that Parnas is making the cable news rounds and the committee Nunes sits on releases explosive new impeachment-related evidence — which was provided by Parnas — the California lawmaker is changing his tune.
During an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Wednesday evening, Nunes admitted that he actually does remember having a conversation with Parnas during key moments of Giuliani and Parnas’ scheme to pressure Ukraine to investigate President Trump’s political rival. He also referred to Parnas as a “person who doesn’t tell the truth.”
“If you recall that was brand new when it came out when I was on your show, I just didn’t know the name, this name, Parnas. So you know, what I always like to remind people is, we are dealing with people every day,” Nunes said. “We’re an oversight committee, so we have incoming calls that come to my office, to my cellphone, etc. etc. And you know now that he had called my cellphone and I didn’t know his name, I didn’t remember the name, I did remember going back, looking where I was at at the time because you know, you can do that now.
“You can actually know where you physically are,” he continued. “(I) checked it with my records and it was very clear — I remember that call, which was very odd, random, talking about random things, and I said, ‘great,’ you know, ‘talk to my staff,’ and boom, boom, boom. That’s just normal operating procedure.”
When asked if he communicated with Parnas about ousted diplomat Marie Yovanovich, Nunes demurred, saying the first time he heard her name was during this “impeachment sham,” before pivoting to discuss conspiracies about Democrats alleged involvement in Ukraine in 2016.
Conveniently, Nunes now remembers talking to Parnas pic.twitter.com/dg6KiK6CcW
— Nicole Lafond (@Nicole_Lafond) January 16, 2020
Nunes’ call with Parnas was first revealed in the House Intelligence Committee’s report on the evidence it had collected as part of its impeachment inquiry into the Ukraine pressure scheme. Nunes also talked to Giuliani on several occasions while the President’s lawyer cooked up fabricated allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and pressured Ukraine to investigate them. At the time, Nunes said he didn’t remember talking to Parnas and chalked up his calls with Giuliani as conversations between friends who have known one another for a long time.
“It’s possible, but I haven’t gone through all my phone records, I don’t really recall that name,” Nunes said on December 4 when Fox News’ Sean Hannity asked him about the Parnas calls. According to the House Intelligence Committee’s report, Nunes had contact with Parnas at least four times on the same day in April 2019. “I remember the name now because he has been indicted, but why would CNN rely on somebody like this? And I’ll go back and check all my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.”
On December 8, he changed his tune slightly: “I got a call from a number that was Parnas’ wife. I remember talking to someone, and I did what I always do which is that if you don’t know who they are, you put them to staff, and you let staff work with that person,” he told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
The new trove of documents released by the House Intelligence Committee this week, revealed that on January 31, 2019 Parnas sent Giuliani a link to a Wikipedia page about Derek Harvey, a top Nunes staffer.
This is exchange is notable. Along with revealing key contacts between Nunes himself and Giuliani and Parnas, that December House Intelligence Committee impeachment report also revealed that Harvey spoke to Giuliani on the phone for more than six minutes on May 8. That’s around the time that Giuliani was preparing to take a trip to Ukraine to try to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy officials to continue his investigations push.