(Bloomberg) – Lev Parnas, an accused Rudy Giuliani employee, accused President Donald Trump of lying because he didn’t know what Parnas and Giuliani were doing in Ukraine.
In an interview with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC on Wednesday, Parnas said: “I would not do anything without the approval of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” said Parnas.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” he added in the interview that aired on the same day that House of Democrats went across the Capitol to deliver the two impeachment articles against Trump to the Republican-controlled Senate to transmit.
Trump denied knowing Parnas after he and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani employee, were charged with campaign finance violations in October, despite photos of the three men together.
Parnas worked with Giuliani to excavate political filth in Ukraine against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
In the first interview since his indictment, Parnas said he was instructed by Giuliani to tell Ukrainian officials that if Ukraine does not announce a bidens investigation, all US aid to Ukraine will be withheld.
Parnas said he works as part of Trump’s law team and Giuliani would tell Ukrainian officials that Parnas was working on Trump’s behalf so that the Ukrainians would take him seriously.
He also said that Vice President Mike Pence was instructed to reach an agreement between the Ukrainians during a meeting in early September.
Parnas said a trip Pence was supposed to take to inaugurate President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was canceled because Trump was angry that the Ukrainians had not announced an investigation.
Parnas has provided no evidence to support his allegations against Trump or his government. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday evening.
In a separate interview with CNN that aired Thursday, Parnas said the purpose of his activities in Ukraine was to help Trump win the 2020 reelection and that other White House officials were aware of it, including Pence , incumbent chief of the Mick Mulvaney White House and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
“Of course,” said Parnas, “Pence was aware of the campaign to pressure Ukrainian officials.” “I don’t know if he knew everything.”
“Bolton, I don’t think I agree,” he added.
The pressure to get Ukrainians to investigate Biden was “everything around 2020 to make sure he has another four years,” said Parnas. “There was no other reason for it.”
Parnas said he was ready to testify before the house’s impeachment investigation.
“The truth is now known, thank God,” he told CNN. “I thought they would silence me and make me look like a scapegoat and try to blame me for things.”
The Parnas lawyer received permission from the judge in his case to deliver documents related to Ukraine to a committee of the parliament this week.
Some of these documents prompted State Department chairman Eliot Engel to request information from the State Department about possible security risks for the embassy staff in Kiev, including former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Republican congressional candidate Parnas and Robert Hyde in Connecticut “apparently exchanged highly sensitive information about whereabouts and security protocols for Yovanovitch” when she was an ambassador, wrote Engel. The exchange took place last March.
The house released additional documents from Parnas on its website, including text messages and phone messages, on Wednesday.
In news released on Tuesday, Hyde suggested that someone have Yovanovitch monitored near Kiev.
“They’ll let me know when they’re on the move,” he wrote to Parnas. Minutes later, Hyde wrote, “You are ready to help if we / you want a prize.” He added: “I think you can do anything in Ukraine with money … what I was told.”
The next day, Hyde wrote, “My contacts ask what the next step is because they can’t always check if people start asking questions.”
A lawyer from Yovanovitch requested an investigation.
“Needless to say, American citizens and others are watching Ambassador Yovanovitch’s movements for unknown purposes,” said lawyer Lawrence Robbins on Tuesday evening. “We trust that the relevant authorities will conduct an investigation to determine what has happened.”
Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, is under investigation by the New York Attorney General for possible violations of campaign funding and non-registration as a foreign agent as part of an active investigation into his financial affairs, said three U.S. officials.
(Updates with a new Parnas interview with CNN from the 11th paragraph)
– With the support of Kathleen Miller.
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