Lev Parnas, the Rudy Giuliani associate who allegedly attempted to pressure the Ukranian government into digging up dirt about Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, says that President Trump was in on the scheme from the jump.
In a baffling move, Parnas decided to tell all during a Rachel Maddow interview that aired on MSNBC Wednesday night. He said that Trump’s concerns about Ukraine were never about reigning in corruption, as the president has frequently insisted. The move was strictly about undermining the Bidens, and Parnas intended to help the president achieve his goal.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on, he was aware of all of my movements,” Parnas said. “I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, no reason to speak to any of these officials, they have no reason to speak to me.”
He continued: “Why would President Zelenskiy’s inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or [former] President 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 said that the Trump administration threatened to withhold not just military aid, but all aid, from Ukraine, unless the government announced that they were launching an investigation into Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma from 2014 to 2019.
Parnas also implicated Vice President Pence, Attorney General William Barr, and even Congressman Devin Nunes in the scheme.
He claims that Pence was very much aware of the so-called “quid pro quo” and that Pence’s originally scheduled trip to Ukraine to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May 2019 was suddenly scrapped because Ukraine didn’t agree to investigate the Bidens. Regarding Barr, Parnas said it would be “impossible” for Barr not to have known about the Ukraine scheme and that Giuliani was “absolutely” in contact with him about a potential Biden investigation. And Nunes: Parnas said he met Nunes several times and was later introduced to Nunes’s aide, Derek Harvey, who was already aware of the work Parnas and Giuliani were up to in Ukraine. This made Nunes’s presence as the lead investigator in this ordeal the House Intelligence Committee all the more galling, according to Parnas.
“I was in shock, when I was watching the hearings, and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there, and there was a picture where Derek Harvey was in back over there, sitting, I texted my attorney, I said I can’t believe this is happening,” Parnas said.
The articles of impeachment against Trump center around this alleged scheme to push Ukraine to do Trump’s bidding. The House formally delivered the articles to the Senate Wednesday evening, following the release of a slew of new damning documents provided by Parnas.
Naturally, the Trump administration is denying fault. On Thursday morning, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison. The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start”
Parnas was, indeed, indicted on campaign finance violation charges in the fall of 2019, but at this point, who associated with the Trump administration hasn’t?
When asked if Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, “All I can say is the truth. He’s a very sad situation.”
Meanwhile, Parnas is kicking the drama up a notch: He’s vowing to release a photo of himself with President Trump every time Trump continues to insist that he doesn’t know him.
“I welcome him to say that even more,” Parnas said during an interview on CNN’s New Day Thursday morning. “Every time he says that I’ll show him another picture. He’s lying.”