Devin Nunes Accuses Reporter of Stalking Him After Refusing to Answer Questions About Ukraine Scandal

Rep. Devin Nunes has accused a journalist of having "stalked" him after a bizarre exchange in which the Republican lawmaker refused to respond to questions about his alleged role in the Ukraine scandal that could soon lead to President Donald Trump's impeachment.

On Saturday, Nunes was approached by a reporter for The Intercept, Lee Fang, during an event at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. Fang tried to question the representative on his alleged role in the growing scandal.

Instead of responding to his questions, however, Nunes fled the reporter, walking away at a brisk pace. Approached a second time, the congressman appeared to hold up his phone to snap photos of Fang and a second person videotaping the exchange, before taking to Twitter to accuse the reporter of having "stalked" him, despite Fang clearly identifying himself as a journalist.

The incident unfolded as the GOP lawmaker has sought to bat off claims that he himself might have played a role in trying to obtain information from contacts in Ukraine.

In the weeks since it came to light that Trump had sought Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's assistance in digging up dirt on his political rivals, Nunes had emerged as one of the U.S. leader's top defenders.

Now, however, the California representative has been personally implicated in the saga by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's who has been accused of helping uncover damaging information on former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Lawyers for Parnas, who has been indicted on charges of using foreign money to make campaign contributions, told CNN that their client had helped Nunes arrange meetings with a number of Ukrainian officials, including ousted Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin, in December 2018.

In the wake of the allegations, Nunes has sought to shut down calls to recuse himself, even filing a lawsuit against CNN seeking $435,350,000 in damages for defamation over what he branded as a "demonstrably false hit piece," according to The Washington Post.

Following his exchange with Fang, Nunes posted a close-up photo of the journalist's face on Twitter, asserting: "This guy stalked me in hotel lobby after my appearance on ⁦@foxandfriends⁩ Saturday AM...Maybe he was in Vienna with @cnn."

"What a weird, defamatory statement from Devin Nunes here," Fang wrote in response retweeting the post. "I walked up calmly and asked a simple news question to the congressman. You can see everything I actually said and Nunes' trembling hand while he silently took my picture in the video I posted."

Indeed, video captured by The Intercept shows Fang apologizing for interrupting before asking Nunes: "What were your calls with Lev Parnas about? Were you asking about the effort to investigate Hunter Biden?"

The reporter does not initially introduce himself as a journalist and it is unclear whether Nunes would have immediately recognized him.

However, the GOP congressman quickly begins to walk away, with Fang briefly following him before turning to the camera to explain the situation.

"Tried to ask him if he would talk about his calls to Lev Parnas, if he was part of the effort to investigate Hunter Biden," the journalist explains.

The footage later turns to a scene in which Nunes appears to be holding up his phone to Fang as the reporter tries to repeat his question about the congressman's alleged role in the Ukraine scandal.

"I'm a reporter from The Intercept," Fang says, chuckling as Nunes continues to hold up his phone in an apparent bid to record the journalist.

"I wanted to ask you about your calls to Lev Parnas? What was content of those calls? Were you part of the effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden?"

Devin Nunes
Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-OH) questions Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 20, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Nunes has been embroiled in the growing Ukraine scandal that could soon lead to President Donald Trump's impeachment. Alex Edelman/Getty

"Thank you Congressman," Fang says as Nunes walks away after appearing to shakily record the reporter and the person videotaping the exchange.

It is unclear why Nunes later accused Fang of stalking him, despite the journalist later making clear he was questioning the lawmaker as a reporter.

According to Fang's account, Nunes also "had a Capitol Police officer stationed at the event ask hotel staff for us to leave the hotel," which the journalist said his team "obliged without hesitation."

The reporter said that a man who had been standing with Nunes later "left the hotel and followed us around the block."

"This was an event with many, many members of the House Republican caucus," Fang wrote. "Several lawmakers spoke to us as they arrived or left the hotel for the NRCC fundraiser upstairs. No one was 'stalked'," he said.

Newsweek has reached out to both Nunes' office and Fang for comment.