The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Saturday that the ranking member of Intelligence Committee would “quite likely” face an ethics probe following allegations last week he met with a top Ukrainian official.
“I understand a lot of this is about Joe Biden but the bigger thing is about what President Trump and the Russians and all these people have been doing … is a systematic problem that is a threat to the country because of what Russia is doing to democracy,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told MSNBC in reference to allegations against Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)
Asked directly if he expected Nunes to face congressional scrutiny, Smith replied, “Quite likely, without question.”
Democrats allege that, based on news reports from last week, that Nunes met secretly with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin in Vienna last December in an effort to gather politically damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden.
CNN reported the allegations Friday after the attorney for Lev Parnas, an associate of presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani who was indicted on unrelated federal charges last month, told the network his client seeks an audience with House impeachment investigators to discuss what he claims to know.
Following the report, Nunes quickly announced Friday he planned swift legal action against CNN and The Daily Beast, another media outlet that published a similar story earlier in the week.
Nunes told the outlet Breitbart News his suit would target the “demonstrably false and scandalous stories” put out by the two news organizations, calling them “the perfect example of defamation and reckless disregard for the truth.”
The Intelligence Committee ranking member added that the two news organizations “will find themselves in court soon after Thanksgiving.”
Giuliani defended Saturday, telling Fox News the California Republican did not meet with Shokin.
“I would have heard of it if he would have,” Giuliani said.
Shokin was fired as prosecutor general by the Ukrainian government in 2015 as he was investigating corruption allegations linked to Burisma Holdings, an energy firm.
At the time Shokin was fired, Hunter Biden, son of the vice president, was being paid tens of thousands of dollars per month by the company to be a board member.
Last year at an event sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, Joe Biden is on video claiming that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine unless the government fired Shokin.
Democrats have accused President Trump of doing the same thing — threatening to withhold military aid from Ukraine unless that government opened an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, as well as alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
A rough transcript of a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which a CIA whistleblower claimed Trump made the threat multiple times contains no references to any “quid pro quo.”