Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, has broken his silence since his arrest to make the claim that President Trump directed his actions in Ukraine.
Parnas came forward along with his lawyer on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Wednesday night to say he was not freelancing when he collaborated with Giuliani in an effort to get the Ukrainians to investigate Trump rival Joe Biden while going after the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
‘President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the president,’ Parnas said.
‘I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials. I mean, they have no reason to speak to me.
‘Why would [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s] inner circle, or Minister [Arsen] Avakov, or all these people, or [former Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko] meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work.’
Parnas also claimed that Trump canceled Vice President Mike Pence’s planned appearance at Zelensky’s inauguration in May after Ukrainian officials refused to announce an investigation into the Biden family.
The stunning assertions came just hours before Chief Justice John Roberts is to swear in 100 U.S. senators who are to act as a jury weighing two articles of impeachment against the president.
Indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas says Donald Trump was directly involved in an alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate political rival Joe Biden
Parnas and his lawyer Joseph Bondy spoke to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in an interview aired Wednesday night
Parnas said his work in the Ukraine was with the consent of Rudy Giuliani and the president. A trove released Tuesday revealed a Giuliani letter to the president of Ukraine seeking a meeting and citing Trump’s consent
The impeachment inquiry was sparked by allegations the Trump administration tried to pressure Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.
Parnas, who is accused of federal campaign finance violations, has submitted a trove of documents to the House Intelligence Committee pertaining to his dealings in the Ukraine, a portion of which were made public on Tuesday.
The documents revealed that Giuliani requested a private meeting with Zelensky with Trump’s ‘knowledge and consent’.
Speaking to Maddow, Parnas insisted that Trump was aware he and Giuliani were working on the effort in Ukraine specifically to hurt Joe Biden, a current favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Parnas also said he had no doubt that Pence and Attorney General William Barr were kept in the loop.
Parnas said he had no doubt that Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr were kept in the loop about efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens
Parnas attorney Joseph Bondy (left) tweeted a picture of himself and his client with Maddow ahead of the interview Wednesday night
Just before the MSNBC interview aired, House officials released a second set of documents submitted by Parnas’ legal team.
Among the confusing trove of information is one message that identifies first daughter Ivanka Trump, a key advisor who Trump pointed out by name during remarks lauding a new deal with China in the White House Wednesday.
Trump lawyer Victoria Toensing, in a message to Parnas, mentions Ivanka in a discussion about a White House meeting. ‘POTUS stood us up and sent Ivanka to speak in his stead. Victoria,’ reads the message, dated March 3rd, amid the Ukrainian elections.
‘That’s what Rudy said,’ Parnas replied. The messages are proceeded and succeeded by blacked out information.
A White House spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a question about the Ivanka message.
Another message references the president’s eldest son, Don Jr., who helps run the Trump Organization.
‘What should I send don to tweet,’ writes Joseph Ahearn, who is listed by pro-Trump super PAC America First Policies as director of development in a March 20 message to Parnas.
Parnas replies: ‘Wait tomorrow good stuff.’
‘What should I send don to tweet,’ writes Joseph Ahearn, who is listed by pro-Trump super PAC America First Policies as director of development, to Parnas
Attorney Victoria Toensing writes Parnas that the president ‘stood us up and sent Ivanka to speak in his stead’
The documents include a series of back-and-forth messages about getting a retainer completed. An April, 2019 message from Parnas seeks to have it translated into Russian
‘I WILL NOT BE BROKEN!’ Giualiani complained former special counsel Robert Mueller was stalling his flight departure.
A Parnas text about a retainer mentioned a figure at the Ukraine ministry of justice
Another message is from Thomas Hicks Jr. Thomas O. Hicks Jr is co-chair of the Republican National Committee
Parnas has been photographed multiple times with Trump and key Trump World figures, including Don Jr.
A March 20 message includes a link to a story by John Solomon in The Hill that included some of Giuliani’s claims about Ukrainian corruption. Another linked to a show by Fox News host Sean Hannity.
‘Have jr retweet it,’ writes Parnas.
‘Sent,’ responds Ahearn a minute later.
On March 24, 2019, Trump Jr. retweeted a link to a DailyWire story about pressure to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
‘We need more @Richard Grenell’s and less of these jokers as ambassadors. Calls Grow To Remove Obama’s U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine,’ wrote the president’s son.
Other messages connect Parnas with shipping magnate Harry Sargeant III who has denied claims of involvement in a plan to export U.S. natural gas to Ukraine. When Parnas mentioned a coming meeting in Vienna, Sargeant responded: ‘Just becoming expensive flying u guys everywhere LEV.’
Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman, both born in the former Soviet Union, have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Parnas lawyer Joseph Bondy says his client wants to testify and has been urging federal authorities to interview him.
Many of the matters referenced in his trove of electronic information were the subject of a House Democratic impeachment inquiry, which focused on the firing of Yovanovitch and efforts to get the Ukrainians to probe Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board.
Messages revealed Tuesday appeared to show an effort to surveil the movements of Yovanovitch.