Report: Devin Nunes Received “Packets” From Ex-KGB Officer’s Son
According to CNN, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, “declined to say at a closed-door meeting this week whether he had received foreign information meant to damage former Vice President Joe Biden, according to a transcript released by the committee on Thursday.”
- The information “pertained to packets reportedly sent to GOP members of Congress, including Nunes, by Ukranian lawmaker Andrii Derkach -- who has worked closely with President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani played a key role in the effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to publicly announce an investigation into the former vice president, an effort that led to the President's impeachment and subsequent acquittal.”
- Derkach is “a member of a pro-Russian party in parliament and went to the Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB in Moscow. He is the son of a KGB officer who later served as head of Ukrainian intelligence,” according to this tweet.
- But “facing questioning from Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Nunes declined to respond,” CNN wrote.
"I guess I would request an explanation from the ranking member why he is just not prepared to respond to a simple question whether he has received materials that have been called into question that seem designed to denigrate a former vice president of the United States, but, at a minimum, to share them with the rest of the committee," Maloney said.
- A committee source “told CNN that the Democrats on the panel came in possession of a DHL receipt in December 2019 showing that a package had been mailed to Republicans on the committee. Democrats believed this package pertained to a foreign disinformation campaign targeting Biden.”
- At this week's committee meeting, “Nunes would not comment when asked about the materials -- or say if he would share them with Democrats on the panel,” the report continued.
"Mr. Chairman, there have been public reports that the minority has received materials from Andrii Derkach, and those materials would not be classified and they would not be prohibited from disclosure," Maloney said during the meeting. "But, at a minimum, I also understand that majority staff has requested of the minority that they be shared with majority staff so that we might evaluate them independently."
- Nunes kept declining to respond and stayed silent throughout the meeting.
- Democrats are increasingly concerned about “a Russian-linked ‘disinformation’ campaign to target Biden in the 2020 election, including that information from entities with ties to Russia was being provided to Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who is leading an investigation into Biden,” CNN wrote.
- According to the report, “a small group of Ukrainian political figures has injected itself into the US presidential election by releasing and promoting alleged audiotapes of Biden” in recent months. “Some of these figures are connected to Kremlin interests or Russian intelligence agencies, which experts say suggests their actions may be part of a Russian-backed misinformation campaign.”
- “Some Republicans and right-wing news outlets have embraced the baseless claims being levied by these controversial Ukrainian figures. Some of these figures, including Derkach, have worked closely with Giuliani. Johnson has tried to secure testimony from another Ukrainian in this orbit, former diplomat Andrii Telizhenko,” reported CNN.
- Johnson reportedly told the news outlet “earlier this month that he wasn't aware of any Russian disinformation sent to his committee but that his staff vets any evidence the panel is provided and takes anything coming from Ukraine with a ‘huge grain of salt.’”
"I'm not aware of every piece of information our committee has gathered. We're encouraging people to send us information, but then we fully vet it," Johnson said. "We take everything with a grain of salt we get from Ukraine. I think you have to."