Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer had made several explosive potential claims against Donald Trump. Parnas says Trump had direct Knowledge of Ukraine pressure to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Parnas says he delivered an ultimatum in May, at Giuliani’s order, to the incoming president of Ukraine that no senior U.S. officials would attend his inauguration and vital American security aid would be withheld if an investigation into Biden wasn’t announced.
Parnas alleged that later Trump ordered the Vice President, Pence to stay away at the behest of Giuliani to send a clear message to the incoming Ukrainian administration that they needed to take seriously the demand for an investigation into Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate seen as a potential threat to Trump’s 2020 re-election
In a televised interview Wednesday night with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Parnas says, “President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was are of all my movement. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the President.”
Parnas said every communication he had with Zelenskiy’s team was at the direction of Giuliani, whom he regularly overheard briefing Trump about their progress by phone.
Going on, Parnas said he also heard Giuliani and another Trump-aligned defence lawyer, Victoria Toesing, briefing Attorney General, Wiliam P. Barr by phone about their efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to announce the investigation into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings.
These new accusations came as House Democrats made public a store of valuable documents, text messages and photos from Parnas smartphones that appear to verify parts of his account. Parnas could provide the materials to Congress as part of the impeachment proceedings.
The text and phone records show Parnas communicating with Giuliani multiple times a day before Yovanovitch’s removal, as well as a handwritten note asking Ukraine’s president to investigate “the Biden case.”
Among the documents is a screenshot of a previously undisclosed letter from Giuliani to Zelensky dated May 10, 2019, which was shortly after Zelensky was elected but before he took office. In the letter, Giuliani requests a meeting with Zelensky “as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent.”
Also one of the documents released by Democrats is a handwritten note on stationery from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna that says “get Zalensky to Annonce that the Biden case will be Investigated.”
In several of the documents, Parnas communicated with Giuliani about the removal of Yovanovitch. The ambassador’s ouster, ordered by Trump, was at the center of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Yovanovitch testified in the House impeachment hearings that she was the victim of a “smear campaign.”
And it will be recalled that associated press report in October 2019 said that Zelensky had huddled three days earlier, on May 7, with a small group of key advisors in Kyiv to seek advice about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and Giuliani for a probe into the Bidens. He expressed his unease about becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the three-hour meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, which has roiled U.S.-Ukrainian relations.
In all the allegations, Trump has repeatedly denied knowing Parnas, despite numerous photos that have emerged of the men together. Among the materials released from Parnas’ phone this week were more photos of him with Trump, as well as the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., daughter and White House advisor Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also a senior advisor.
But asked by Maddow about Trump’s denials of knowing him, Parnas said he had spoken one-on-one with the president numerous times.