Nov 24, 2019

Nunes suggests CNN, Daily Beast committed crimes with reporting on Ukraine prosecutor

Rep. Devin Nunes. Photo: Andrew Harrer/AFP via Getty Images

House Intelligence Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) claimed on Fox News‘ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he is taking CNN and the Daily Beast "likely into federal court" for their reporting on allegations that he met with former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

The backdrop: The Daily Beast and CNN reported last week that the attorneys for Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani's who was indicted last month, said their client is willing to tell Congress about phone calls and meetings in Vienna in 2018 between Nunes and Shokin. Nunes said on Fox that by working with someone under indictment, the two outlets were "likely conspiring to obstruct justice."

It's unclear what Nunes would sue the publications for. If he sues for defamation, he would have to prove as a public official that the outlets acted with actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth.

  • However, both publications reported on statements that Parnas’ attorneys released and neither issued any claims regarding the truth of the statements.

What he's saying: Nunes said the reports are false but would not answer a direct question from Fox's Maria Bartiromo about whether he met with Shokin in 2018.

  • "I really want to answer all of these questions, and I promise you I absolutely will come back on the show and answer these questions. But because there is criminal activity here, we're working with the appropriate law enforcement agencies, we are going to file all this," Nunes said.
  • "Everyone’s going to know the truth, everybody is going to know all the facts, but I think you can understand that I can’t compete by trying to debate this out with the public media when 90% of the media are totally corrupt," he continued.
  • "And because this is criminal in nature and because it is so bad, so slanderous, we’ve got all the facts on our side and we are 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."

Nunes also told Breitbart last week that the "scandalous stories published by the Daily Beast and CNN are the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth."

Go deeper: Devin Nunes suing Twitter over anti-conservative "shadow bans"

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.