Parnas accuses Devin Nunes of being 'involved' in anti-Biden effort

Parnas said, in apparent reference to Nunes and his team, "[I]t's hard to see them lie like that."
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By Steve Benen

As Donald Trump's Ukraine scandal has unfolded, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, is among the Republicans who've faced questions about communications with some of the scheme's key players.

It was against this backdrop that Rachel asked Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate involved with executing the Ukraine scheme, about his associations with the controversial California congressman.

Parnas also said he met several times with U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., one of Trump's top defenders and ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, which investigated the Ukraine allegations.

Parnas said he was later referred to a Nunes aide, who was aware of what Parnas and Giuliani were doing. Parnas said the referral came because of something to do with an ethics committee, and Nunes "couldn't be in the spotlight." Parnas said he was shocked to see Nunes and the aide during the impeachment hearings....

"I was in shock when I was watching the hearings and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there," Parnas said, adding that he was similarly surprised to see Derek Harvey, a Nunes aide he claims to have worked with on the Ukraine scheme, on the dais during the congressional proceedings.

Parnas told Rachel, "I texted my attorney. I said, 'I can't believe this is happening.'"

Asked why he was so surprised, he added, "Because they were involved in getting all this stuff on Biden."

Parnas went on to say, in apparent reference to Nunes, "[I]t's hard to see them lie like that... It's scary because, you know, he was sitting there and making all statements and all that when he knew very well that he knew what was going on. He knew what's happening. He knows who I am."

Though Nunes' office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, the Washington Post noted that the GOP lawmaker appeared on Fox News.

A couple of hours before the Parnas interview aired on MSNBC, Nunes was asked by Fox News host Martha MacCallum about the phone records that show that he spoke with the former Giuliani associate. Last month, Nunes told Fox's Sean Hannity that while it was "possible" that he spoke with Parnas, he did not "recall" his name. "I will go back and check my records, but it seems very unlikely I will be taking calls from random people," Nunes said at the time.

On Wednesday, however, Nunes said that after having time to go through his records, he was reminded that he did talk to Parnas -- a chat he described as "random."

"I just didn't know the name -- this name 'Par-nas,'" Nunes said. "You know now that he had called my cellphone and I didn't know his name, I didn't remember the name, but I did remember going back where I was at the time -- you can do that now, you actually know where you physically are -- checked it with my records.

It's of interest that Nunes remembered an interaction with Parnas on the same afternoon as Parnas' interview with Rachel.

MORE: Today's Maddowblog