Nunes accuses Democrats of promoting 'conspiracy theories'

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesDemocratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' House Democrats release second batch of Parnas materials Democratic lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism MORE (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, defended his conversations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' MORE that were revealed in the House Intelligence Committee’s report released Tuesday.

The ranking member argued Democrats are crafting “conspiracy theories” in an attempt to control the narrative on impeachment. 

The House Intelligence report included phone records indicating that Nunes and a member of his staff were in contact with Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas in April and May amid efforts by Trump's personal attorney to get Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE and Biden's son Hunter, as well as into the 2016 presidential election.

Democratic lawmakers on the committee, including Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Schiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Trump defenders argue president can't be removed for abuse of power MORE (D-Calif.), said they found the contacts uncovered in the report Tuesday “deeply concerning” and that the California Republican could have been “complicit” in Giuliani’s attempts to dig up dirt on one of President Trump’s political rivals. 

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When asked about the allegation that he was helping to dig up dirt on the former vice president, Nunes demurred, brushing the accusation off as the Democrats' futile attempt to win a losing game.  

"Well, I think it's what happens when it shows that you're losing and you're losing badly, right, when you're willing to take phone records and then contrive up new conspiracy theories. I haven't actually been able to read how they've detailed this, but what I'm hearing is that it's some new conspiracy theory about how we're now involved with the firing of an ambassador or something — I mean it's really crazy town,” Nunes told reporters on Wednesday. 

Nunes said there was nothing inappropriate about their conversation, adding that while he doesn’t remember “exactly what was talked about,” he would be comfortable releasing recordings if they exist. 

"Yeah, I mean I talked to Giuliani all the time, especially at that point when those calls were made — that was right when Mueller totally flamed out and the Russia hoax blew up. And so it's really the first time I had spoke to Giuliani because he was the president's lawyer, we were conducting an investigation so we didn't want to have any discussions during that whole Mueller probe,” he continued. 

“So at the end of that, and that's when those calls occurred, and I've talked to him a handful of times. And so, whatever conspiracy theory they're dreaming up, it's more of just their Watergate fantasies.”

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTrump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night MORE (R-La.) said he has concerns over Schiff obtaining the phone records of the top Republican on the committee. 

“I want to know all the people that Adam Schiff is spying on. I mean, there’s reports that he was spying on a journalist. Are there other members of Congress that he's spying on, and what justification does he have?” the Louisiana Republican told reporters on Wednesday. 

Scalise went on to claim that the House Intelligence Committee, led by Schiff, has continued to operate under the shroud of secrecy — a common Republican criticism throughout the impeachment process. 

”And what's going on? I mean, he does all these meetings in secret. They literally last night had votes on impeaching the president of the United States behind closed doors in secret.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCalifornia sues Trump administration over fracking Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (R-Calif.) also defended Nunes's interactions with Giuliani, telling reporters on Tuesday Nunes “has a right to talk to anybody.”

Nunes accusations of Democrats pushing a "conspiracy theory" comes as Democrats have accused some Republicans of pushing a conspiracy theory by suggesting Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.