Accuracy in Media

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), said he plans to sue CNN, Daily Beast and the reporters and sources responsible for stories last week that claimed Nunes met with Victor Shokin, former chief prosecutor of Ukraine, in an attempt to dig up dirt on former Vice-President Joe Biden.

Nunes, ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was accused by CNN in a story by Vicky Ward entitled “Exclusive: Giuliani associate willing to tell Congress Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian official to get dirt on Biden” and by the Daily Beast’s Betsy Swan in a story entitled “Lev Parnas Helped Rep. Devin Nunes’ Investigations” – subhead: “The indicted Giuliani associate helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe for the Republican congressman in 2018.”

“A lawyer for an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani told CNN that his client is willing to tell Congress about meetings the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee had in Vienna last year with a former Ukrainian prosecutor to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden,” Ward wrote in her lead.

The lawyer for indicted man, Lev Parnas, said Parnas “was told directly by the former Ukrainian official that he met last year” with Nunes.

She later noted: “After the story published, Nunes disputed CNN’s report, telling far-right website Breitbart that it was ‘demonstrably false.’”

CNN went on to state that “Parnas, who was indicted on federal campaign finance charges last month, worked with Shokin and Giuliani to push a pair of unfounded claims: That Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats, and that Biden was acting corruptly in Ukraine on behalf of his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.”

Four paragraphs later, it returned to this point. “There is no evidence that the Bidens acted inappropriately. Nor is there evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Ukraine worked with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election,” Ward wrote. “Yet these claims have been a key part of the public defense of the president put forth by Nunes and other Republicans during the impeachment hearings this month.”

The Daily Beast story said that Parnas, “an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, helped arrange meetings and calls in Europe” for Nunes in 2018.

There is abundant evidence the Bidens acted inappropriately and that Ukraine worked with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election. Hunter Biden had a no-show job with Bursima, the Ukrainian energy firm, for which he was paid $83,000 per month. His father was seen in a video bragging about forcing Ukraine to fire Shokin the prosecutor or lose more than $1 billion in US aid.

The Ukrainian embassy in Washington admitted that Alexandra Chalupa, who worked for the Democratic National Committee, solicited Ukrainian officials in spring 2016, and State Department employee Fiona Hill confirmed this in her testimony before Congress last week. A Ukrainian court later ruled that participation by officials there in Chalupa’s efforts to produce criminal allegations against Paul Manafort, then a Trump campaign official, “amounted to an improper interference by Ukraine’s government in the 2016 U.S. election,” wrote John Solomon, independent journalist, citing court documents.

George Kent, a US diplomat in Ukraine, admitted demanding Ukrainian prosecutors drop a series of investigations into how Ukrainian non-profits spent US aid dollars, including the George Soros-funded Anti-Corruption Action Center, and Yuriy Lutsenko, a former prosecutor general in Ukraine, said former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch provided a list of Ukrainian nationals and groups she did not want to see prosecuted, also according to Solomon.

The claims from Solomon were part of a response to Alexander Vindman’s testimony before the House impeachment inquiry that his stories were inaccurate. Solomon posted the 28 claims he had made and the documentation he provided to support them and challenged Vindman to correct his remarks or provide proof the allegations and source material were wrong.

Only the Washington Post bothered to try to ask Shokin if he had met with Nunes. Shokin denied through his attorney even knowing who Nunes is, let alone meeting with him.

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