Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani’s indicted ‘fixer’, has claimed he witnessed President Donald Trump ordering the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to be fired — and he also implicated former Energy Secretary Rick Perry in the saga for the first time.
In a whirlwind spree of cable news interviews on Thursday, Parnas recounted his role in President Donald Trump’s alleged scheme to pressure the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
He told CNN that Trump had demanded the firing of US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at least ‘four times,’ one of which he personally witnessed at a fundraiser at Trump’s hotel last spring.
‘In the conversation, the subject of Ukraine was brought up,’ Parnas said. ‘And I told the President that our opinion that (Ambassador Yovanovitch) is badmouthing him – and that she said that he’s gonna get impeached – something like that. I don’t know if that’s word for word.’
Parnas told CNN that Trump had demanded the firing of US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at least ‘four times,’ one of which he personally witnessed at a fundraiser
Yovanovitch has testified that she learned she was being removed from her post in late April
Parnas continued, ‘and his reaction was, he looked at me, like, got very angry, and basically turned around to (then-White House aide) John DeStefano, and said, ‘Fire her. Get rid of her.”
DeStefano was a senior adviser to Trump at the time. Yovanovitch has testified that she learned she was being removed from her post in late April, but it’s unclear whether the scene Parnas recounts led directly to her firing.
During the House impeachment hearings, some witnesses testified that Trump wanted Yovanovitch out of the way because she was an obstacle to his efforts to secure a Ukrainian investigation into the Bidens.
In a separate interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Madow, Parnas also implicated Perry, saying that Giuliani had recruited him to lean on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce an investigation.
Parnas alleges that after Giuliani made the request, Perry called him back and said he had been in touch with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and conveyed the message.
Parnas also implicated former Energy Secretary Rick Perry (above), saying that Giuliani had recruited him to lean on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Zelensky did make an announcement about looking into corruption, but the Ukrainian leader never mentioned Biden.
Parnas said that Giuliani ‘blew his lid’ when this happened.
‘It wasn’t supposed to be a corruption announcement, it [had] to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma,’ Parnas said.
Perry left the Trump administration last fall after reports emerged that he’d been put in charge of Ukraine policy.
‘I don’t know him’: Trump denies knowing Parnas despite reams of photos of the two together
Trump repeated on Thursday that he doesn’t know Parnas, and dismissed photos of the two of them taken together as pictures at fundraisers.
The president said over and over again during an Oval Office event on school prayer that he doesn’t know Parnas, an associate of Giuliani who is facing charges of illegal campaign donations to a Super PAC that supports Trump.
‘I don’t know him,’ Trump told reporters. ‘I don’t know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people.’
‘I don’t know him at all, don’t know what he’s about. Don’t know where he comes from. Know nothing about him,’ he said. By one count he denied knowing Parnas 14 times.
Shortly after his denials aired, Parnas’ attorney released yet another new image of them together, this time a video of them speaking at Mar-a-Lago. He used the soundtrack of Together Again on the video.
Donald Trump repeated on Thursday as many as 14 times that he doesn’t know Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani
You sure they didn’t speak Mr. President: Lev Parnas’ attorney released this video of them together at Mar-a-Lago
‘I don’t believe I’ve ever met him.’ The House Intelligence Committee released this photograph of the two together in a document dump Wednesday
Have we met? I’m sure we haven’t! President Trump dismissed a photos of him and Parnas as just taken at a fundraiser
You’ll have to help me out, I don’t believe we’re acquainted: Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas (second and third from left) pictured with Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Pence also denied he knew ‘the guy’
No, total stranger, so sorry: President Donald Trump alongside Lev Parnas in Florida before his election
Really, I can’t place him at all: Yet another picture of the two together, this time in the Trump Hotel in D.C. has been released by Lev Parnas’ attorney
And who are you? No, I’m sorry, never met you. Lev Parnas and Trump at Christmas time in an undated photograph
I take thousands of photos: Lev Parnas and Donald Trump have not yet reached that number of pictures together, but there are certainly more than one
Great to make your acquaintance for the first time: Lev Parnas and Donald Trump at the door of what appears to be Mar-a-Lago
Shortly after he made his comments, Parnas’ attorney Joesph Bondy released a video of Trump with Parnas at Mar-a-Lago in 2017. Bondy, who had posted photos of Parnas with Trump and members of the first family, vowed to post more if the president denied knowing his client. The soundtrack to the video ‘Together Again’ by Janet Jackson.
‘@realDonaldTrump, the ‘I don’t know him at all, don’t know what he’s about, don’t know where he comes from, know nothing about him’ guy, w Lev Parnas & Roman Nasirov, former head of Ukrainian Fiscal Service, at Mar-a-Lago 2017,’ Bondy wrote. He added the hashtags: ‘#LevRemembers #LetLevSpeak #TheyAllKnew’
Nasirov was indicted in 2017 for stealing $2 billion hryvnias (UAH) ($75 million) in tax revenue. He was ordered to pay compensation.
Trump, meanwhile, said repeated he only met Parnas at a fundraiser where it’s common for a political candidate to take pictures with donors.
‘I don’t even know who this man is other than I guess he attended fundraisers so I take a picture with him. I’m in a room, I take pictures with people. I take thousands and thousands of pictures with people all the time. Thousands during the course of a year, and oftentimes I’ll be taking a picture with somebody, I’ll say I wonder what newspaper that one’s going to appear in. I don’t know him. Perhaps he’s a fine man. Perhaps he’s not. I know nothing about him,’ Trump said.
He added that he’s also never spoken to him.
‘I don’t know him. I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to him. I meet thousands of people,’ he said. ‘I had never had a conversation that I remember with him.’
And he said of Parnas: ‘I don’t need the help of a man that I never met before.’
Trump wasn’t the only administration official denying having met Parnas. Vice President Mike Pence told reporters traveling with him in Florida: ‘I don’t know the guy.’
The president also said he didn’t know anything about a letter Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, sent to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in May requesting a meeting.
Giuliani had written to Zelensky in capacity as Trump’s personal attorney and requested the sit down. It was revealed in a tranche of documents released by the House Intelligence Committee this week.
P.S. WE DON’T KNOW HIM EITHER SAY KELLYANNE AND PENCE….
No, I don’t believe we have: Mike Pence was the latest to say ‘I don’t know the guy,’ with an inevitable picture emerging
We’ve never met, of course we can have a photograph: Lev Parnas’ attorney tweeted this image just after Kellyanne Conway climbed aboard the fast-moving denial train
Lev Parnas with Rudy Giuliani in December 2018 at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral service
I don’t know about this either: DOnald Trump said he knew nothing about this letter in which Rudy Giuliani said he acted with the ‘knowledge and consent’ of the president in Ukraine
Lev Parnas with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump
‘I don’t know anything about the letter,’ Trump said. ‘I didn’t know about his specific letter but if he wrote a letter, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Rudy was always — it was very important to Rudy that I be a great president and that’s okay with me.’
The introductory letter from Giuliani to Zelensky on personal letterhead states it’s written ‘in my capacity as a personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent.’
The letter is dated May 10, right after Zelensky’s election. The former New York City requests a personal meeting days later on a matter he doesn’t identify.
The released documents also show notes scribbled on Ritz Carlton stationary from the Ritz Carlton in Vienna, presumably by Parnas, who was both a client and associate of Giuliani in his efforts to pressure the new Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens.
‘Get Zalensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated,’ reads one notation in large lettering, using another spelling President Volodymyr Zelensky’s name.
Trump has said repeatedly he doesn’t know Parnas nor another indicted Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman.
Parnas attorney Joseph Bondy has released numerous photos of Parnas and Trump and Parnas and Trump family members.
Parnas has been on a media tour in recent days to talk about his work in the Ukraine with Giuliani. The White House has accused him of trying to stay out of prison.
Parnas said Wednesday that the actions taken with the Ukraine where ‘all about the 2020’ presidential election and keeping Trump in office.
‘That was the way everyone viewed it,’ Parnas told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. ‘It was all about 2020 to make sure he had another four years.’
‘I mean, there was no other reason for doing it,’ he added.
His statement disputes the president’s claim that his request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden stemmed from concerns about corruption.
Lev Parnas told CNN’s Anderson Cooper the actions taken with the Ukraine where ‘all about the 2020’ presidential election and keeping Donald Trump in office
Trump is facing two counts of impeachment on allegations he with held nearly $400 million in military aid to the Ukraine to pressure them into investigating his political rivals. He has denied the charge.
But the latest revelations from Parnas come after the House Intelligence Committee released a trove of documents showing Parnas and Giuliani’s attempt to meet with Zelensky along with Parnas’ conversations with Republican donor Robert Hyde, now a congressional candidate, about then-Ambassador the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Parnas also charged that Republican members of Congress, who during the impeachment hearings argued President Trump was trying to end corruption in the Ukraine, knew what was going on.
‘They all know. They have a conscience,’ he said, adding ‘it’s a shame.’
He told CNN his work for Giuliani was all about getting Zelensky or former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to announce an investigation into Biden or Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that had Hunter Biden on its board until last year.
‘As far as I know, the only thing we cared about – and we were the team – was to get Zelensky or Poroshenko or somebody to make the press release announcement into the Biden investigation.’
CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked him: ‘What’s fascinating about what you just said is it’s not to launch an investigation. … It’s to make an announcement of an investigation. That’s what mattered.’
‘Right,’ Parnas agreed. ‘Because nobody trusted them to do an investigation.’
He also claimed Vice President Mike Pence was aware of what was going on but added: ‘I’m not sure if he knew everything.’
Cooper asked him how he knew all these things.
Parnas said it’s because he talked to Giuliani every day.
‘Because we would speak every day. I knew everything that was going on. I mean, after Rudy would speak with the president or come from the White House, I was the first person he briefed. I mean, we had a relationship. We were that close. I mean, we were together from morning tonight. He took me – I mean, every interview he would do, I would be sitting over there while he was doing the interviews,’ he said.
Parnas also claimed Republican members of Congress – like Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan – who defended Trump knew the Ukraine campaign was not about fighting corruption
Parnas worked with Giuliani to try and meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to talk about the Bidens
Parnas added that ‘everybody that was close to Trump knew that this was a thorn in the side.’
He also said former National Security Adviser John Bolton would be a good witness to the events.
‘I think Bolton is an important witness. I think we could fit in all the dots. Because he was on the ground there and he was over here,’ Parnas said.
He added: ‘I’d be very willing to testify.’
Pence aide Marc Short told DailyMail.com that Parnas would say anything ‘in the hopes of staying out of prison.
‘Democrat witnesses have testified under oath in direct contradiction to Lev Parnas statements last night. This is very simple: Lev Parnas is under a multi-count indictment and will say anything to anybody who will listen in hopes of staying out of prison. It’s no surprise that only the liberal media is listening to him,’ he said.
Short didn’t elaborate as to which witnesses he was referring to and how they contradicted Parnas.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway dismissed Parnas as an attention-seeker.
‘Nobody on TV like that is under oath. And he obviously is desperate to get attention,’ she told reporters at the White House Thursday morning.
And White House press secretary Stephanie Grishman made a similar charge against Parnas, who, along with colleague Igor Fruman, has been charged with making illegal campaign donations to a super PAC supporting the president.
‘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,’ she told NBC News in a statement.
‘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,’ Grisham said.
Additionally, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, one of the president’s fiercest defenders during the impeachment hearings, admitted he did know Parnas after originally denying it.
‘I was in shock when I was watching the hearings and when I saw Devin Nunes sitting up there,’ Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
He added he was also curious as to why Derek Harvey, a Nunes aide he said he worked with on the shadow campaign in the Ukraine, was present at the hearing.
‘They were involved in getting all this stuff on Biden,’ he said.
‘It’s hard to see them lie like that when you know it’s like that scary because you know, he was sitting there and making all statements and all that when he knew very well that he knew what was going on,’ Parnas said. ‘He knew what’s happening. He knows who I am.’
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, one of the president’s fiercest defenders during the impeachment hearings, admitted he did know Parnas after originally denying it
Trump asked the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, which he claims was part of concern about corruption in that country
Rudy Giuliani told The Washington Post he felt sorry for Parnas
Nunes told Fox News Wednesday evening that, after checking his phone records, he did have a ‘random’ conversation with Parnas.
‘I just didn’t know the name — this name Par-nas,’ Nunes said. ‘You know now that he had called my cellphone and I didn’t know his name, I didn’t remember the name, but I did remember going back where I was at the time — you can do that now, you actually know where you physically are — checked it with my records.’
‘It was very clear. I remember that call, which was very odd, random, talking about random things. And I said, ‘Great, just talk to my staff,’ … which is normal, standard operating procedure,’ he added.
Parnas also told Maddow he was not freelancing when he collaborated with Giuliani in an effort to get Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
‘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 President 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.’
Giuliani told The Washington Post he felt sorry for Parnas in a message that suggested Parnas wasn’t telling the truth.
‘We all make mistakes,’ Giuliani said in a text message to the newspaper. ‘I feel sorry for him and his family.’
Parnas also claimed that Trump canceled Vice President Mike Pence’s planned appearance at Zelensky’s inauguration last May after Ukrainian officials refused to announce an investigation into the Biden family.
Pence denied the charge and said he didn’t know Parnas.
‘I don’t know the guy,’ Pence told reporters traveling with him in Florida and called Parnas’ charge that he was aware that all outreach to Zelensky was about getting Ukraine to investigate the Bidens ‘completely false.’
Parnas’ interviews came 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.
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 included a letter in which Giuliani requested a private meeting with Zelensky, stating that he had Trump’s ‘knowledge and consent’ to make the request.
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.
‘It was never about corruption, it was strictly about Burisma, which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden,’ he said.
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 and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, were arrested in October on campaign finance charges for allegedly making $325,000 in illegal straw donations to a Trump super PAC.
Asked why he decided to speak out now, Parnas told Maddow: ‘I want to get the truth out. I feel it’s important for our country. I think it’s important for me.’
Trump has previously denied knowing Parnas or Fruman, despite photos Parnas posted on Facebook in 2018 of himself with the president and his son Don Jr.
Asked about Trump’s denial, Parnas said: ‘He lied. He knew exactly who we were.’
Parnas said that he was ‘absolutely’ working for the president in his capacity as a legal aide to Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.