WASHINGTON -- A top House Democrat told reporters Wednesday that his party could explore disciplining Rep. Devin Nunes over the California Republican's involvement with officials who now are at the center of President Donald Trump's impeachment.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, said he would talk to members about the potential for disciplining Nunes after Democrats released phone records showing that Nunes was in contact with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and one of Giuliani's now-indicted associates who allegedly pressed for the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas are central figures in the impeachment inquiry who allegedly worked outside of formal diplomatic channels to advance Trump's political interests.
Nunes' phone calls with them were disclosed in the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report, in which Democrats argue that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine to announce investigations that would benefit him politically.
"I think there are serious questions that have been raised by Mr. Nunes' actions," Hoyer said. "What actions ought to be taken, if any, I want to have input from other people before I opine about what ought to be done."
He clarified "I will be doing that" when asked what the status was, implying he had not yet begun these conversations.
Hoyer's comments echo recent remarks from other senior-ranking Democrats who've called for inquiries into Nunes' reported connections with Parnas, who was indicted by federal prosecutors in October and charged with campaign finance violations. Prosecutors also allege that Parnas lobbied a congressman to remove former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., last month said it was "quite likely" that Nunes would face an ethics inquiry. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., also wanted an investigation into a report that Nunes sought to set up a meeting with Ukrainian officials.
Two Intelligence Committee Democrats, Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, said the decision was better left to House leadership or the House Ethics Committee while they were focused on impeachment.
The second-highest Republican on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said he had "no comment" when asked about Hoyer's comments by McClatchy.