Nunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden

The House Intelligence Committee's ranking member, Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Trump nominates former Nunes aide to serve as intel community inspector general Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election MORE (R-Calif.) on Wednesday declined to answer whether he had received materials from Ukrainian sources meant to damage former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida MORE's (D) reputation ahead of the 2020 election.

Nunes was questioned repeatedly in a closed-door committee meeting Wednesday by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) about materials that were allegedly sent to GOP members of Congress, including the California representative, by Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach.

Derkach has worked with President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE's personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting CIA found Putin 'probably directing' campaign against Biden: report Democrats fear Russia interference could spoil bid to retake Senate MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

Giuliani has ties to Ukraine, and last year boasted publicly of a trip to the country for the purpose of investigating Biden's past.

"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 during the closed-door hearing, according to a transcript released by the committee Thursday.

The questioning came during a part of the meeting Wednesday when the committee voted along party lines to allow all members of the lower chamber to view intelligence that Democrats sent to the FBI warning the agency that about a campaign to discredit the former vice president, according to a report from CNN

Maloney went on to tell Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff to subpoena top DHS official, alleges whistleblower deposition is being stonewalled Schiff claims DHS is blocking whistleblower's access to records before testimony GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, that there are public reports that congressional Republicans have received materials from the Ukrainian lawmaker, and that they "would not be prohibited from disclosure." 

"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," Maloney continued. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The New York congressman added that his inquiry to Nunes is whether he is "prepared to disclose to the committee whether he has received materials that have been called into question in the public reports from Andrii Derkach and, if so, whether he is prepared to share them with the rest of the committee," according to CNN. 

Schiff then asked Nunes if he would like to respond to Maloney, to which Nunes replied, "No." 

Maloney again pressed Nunes, asking him if he would say whether he received the materials. 

"Is the ranking member prepared to even respond to the question? How about it, Mr. Nunes? Did you receive a package from Andrii Derkach or not? And would you share with the committee or not?" Maloney continued.

According to the transcript, Nunes did not answer.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Well, I guess this is a case where silence speaks volumes."

The meeting was then adjourned by Schiff following the exchange. 

The Trump campaign and the president's allies have repeatedly pushed an unfounded claim that the former vice president used the power of his office to help his son Hunter Biden who, at the time, served on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.

Text messages released earlier this year revealed communication between a member of Nunes's staff and Lev Parnas, a close Ukrainian associate of Giuliani's who was arrested for campaign finance violations, about meetings with Ukrainian prosecutors to get information about Biden, according to the Los Angeles Times.  

The Hill has reached out to Nunes's office for comment.