Rep. Devin Nunes speaks during the impeachment inquiry hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a ranking Intelligence Committee member, is "likely" to face an ethics investigation over allegations he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden with an ex-Ukrainian official, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told MSNBC Saturday.

Why it matters: CNN alleged in a report late Friday that Nunes met with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who's at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Nunes told Breitbart he plans to sue CNN for the "demonstrably false" report.

Driving the news: CNN reported that Nune met with Shokin to discuss Biden and his son Hunter, citing as its source Joseph Bondy, attorney for Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who's been indicted on campaign finance charges in a separate case.

  • Bondy alleged to CNN and the Washington Post that Parnas "learned from" Shokin that the former prosecutor met with Nunes in Vienna last December. The Daily Beast also claims that Parnas "helped Nunes" in his investigations. Nunes has threatened to sue the Daily Beast for its report.

What they're saying: Nunes told Breitbart late Friday the "scandalous stories published by the Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth."

"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."
— Devin Nunes' remarks to Breitbart
  • MSNBC's Joy Reid asked Smith whether Nunes could be investigated, to which he replied: "Quite likely, without question."

The big picture: If the House Ethics Committee were to open an investigation into Nunes, it would be the second panel probe he's faced in two years.

  • In Dec. 2017, the committee cleared Nunes of allegations that he "may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information."

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