Nunes said Sunday that he is mulling a libel lawsuit against CNN and The Daily Beast for "building a media narrative and dirty up a member of Congress” after both media outlets claimed earlier that the ranking GOP lawmaker met with ousted Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in 2018.
In particular, Nunes characterized the controversial reports as "fake news" and for the use of “indicted criminals”, a word combination to describe Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas as the source who allegedly revealed the existence of a meeting.
“It is not OK to work with someone who has been indicted on serious federal crimes to build a media narrative and dirty up a member of Congress,” Nunes said, cited by Fox News.
Nunes dodged a direct question from Fox News, however, about the reported meeting with former Ukrainian prosecutor.
“...Can’t compete by trying to debate this out with the public media when 90 percent of the media are totally corrupt [...] I'm not going to sit here and try to compete against the media that I have no chance of winning this [...] I will win in court, and they'll have a chance to cooperate, and they'll have to show how they work with somebody who has been indicted, which is likely conspiring to obstruct justice", Nunes complained, cited by Fox News.
The Daily Beast and CNN earlier claimed that a meeting between the former Ukrainian prosecutor and Nunes had indicated that the ranking legislator may have been personally involved in the investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump's personal lawyer Giuliani, and his fixers - Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both indicted last month on illegal campaign funding along with another two men, although Giuliani has as yet faced no charges - are among the top targets for House Democrats in their Trump impeachment inquiry.
Several witnesses in the impeachment probe have publicly testified that they were uncomfortable with a shadow campaign reportedly being waged by Giuliani to oust former US Envoy to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, whose anti-corruption stance would have hindered his efforts to convince Ukraine to launch an investigation into Biden.
House Democrats allege that Trump pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens by withholding nearly $400 million in US military aid - a charge Republicans deny, pointing to the remittance of payments several weeks prior to the Trump's 25 July alleged request.
Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, was a board member at Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Ukraine’s former prosecutor-general, Viktor Shokin, led an investigation into the firm, but the probe was subsequently closed and Shokin was fired. According to media reports, Shokin claimed earlier that the investigation was terminated out of fear of the United States.