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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 NunesGOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer placed on administrative leave: reports Pelosi raises alarm after Trump loyalist installed as top NSA lawyer NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order MORE (R-Calif.) on Wednesday declined to answer whether he had received materials from Ukrainian sources meant to damage former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenKaty Perry and her 'Firework' close out inauguration TV special Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Tom Hanks: After years of 'troubling rancor,' Inauguration Day 'is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal' 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 TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE's personal lawyer, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Sore loser politics: A Mexican lesson about Trump Pardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office MORE.

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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 SchiffBiden urged to reverse Pompeo-Trump move on Houthis Angus King warns of 'grave danger' of Trump revealing classified information Schiff says 'massive intelligence and security failure' led to Capitol breach 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. 

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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.

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"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.