Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California fired a salvo at Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, also of California, on Friday by posting a letter responding to his colleague’s threat of a lawsuit.
Lieu said that Nunes had threatened to sue him, a fact he first made public on Wednesday. In a tweet on Friday, Lieu shared a picture of a letter from Nunes’ attorney, with the subject line “RE: Nunes v. Lieu.” Though Lieu only shared the first of what he said was five pages of the letter, the visible text made clear that Nunes’ complaint almost certainly involved defamation, for which the Republican has been suing many of his critics in recent months.
In addition to the page from Nunes’ lawyer, Lieu also shared his response. His letter, addressed to Nunes lawyer Steve Bliss, was scathing:
Dear Mr. Biss,
I received your letter dated December 31, 2019 in which you state your client Congressman Devin Nunes will sue me if I don’t, among other actions, issue a public apology to Devin Nunes. It is true that I stated Congressman Nunes worked with Lev Parnas and conspired to undermine our own government. As you know, truth is a defense. So go read the documents and text messages provided by Lev Parnas to the House of Representatives, and watch his interview on the Rachel Maddow Show, which aired on January 15, 2020, that directly implicates Rep Nunes.
I welcome any lawsuit from your client and look forward to taking discovery of Congressman Nunes. Or, you can take your letter and shove it.
This letter indicated that Nunes threatened to sue Lieu over his remarks about the Republican’s connections to Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been indicted on campaign finance charges. This week, Parnas made a big splash by coming forward to talk publicly about his involvement in the Ukraine scandal that has led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment. He has made many explosive and provocative claims, some of which have been backed up by text records and other evidence. Previously, phone records showed calls between Nunes and Parnas, but the Republican congressman claimed he wasn’t sure if he knew the man.
Speaking on MSNBC on Wednesday, Parnas said he was introduced to, and worked through, Nunes aide Derek Harvey, but he was working on Nunes’ behalf.
“Does it strike you as unusual or inappropriate that Devin Nunes would be one of the lead investigators?” Maddow asked.
“I was in shock when I was watching the hearings and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there,” Parnas said. “Because they were involved in getting all this stuff on [former Vice President Joe] Biden.”
After Parnas came forward, Nunes admitted that he did, in fact, talk to Parnas.
And on Friday night, new text message evidence released by the House of Representatives showed that Parnas did communicate extensively with Harvey.