White House

Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas Claims Trump Was Fully Aware of His Role in Ukraine

Lev Parnas arrives for his arraignment at the U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan, October 23, 2019. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Lev Parnas, the businessman tied to President Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s effort to dig up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine, told multiple outlets on Wednesday that Trump was fully aware of his actions.

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President.”

Parnas reiterated his assertion to the New York Times, saying “I am betting my whole life that Trump knew exactly everything that was going on that Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.”

Parnas also accused Attorney General William Barr of being aware of Trump and Giuliani’s actions. A spokesperson for the Justice Department flatly denied Parnas’s accusation, calling it “100 percent false” in a comment to the Washington Examiner. 

During his interview with Maddow, Parnas also claimed that Vice President Mike Pence did not appear at Ukrainian president Voldymyr Zelensky’s inauguration because his government had not yet announced an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

In October, Parnas was arrested along with business partner Igor Fruman for campaign-finance violations, in which the two allegedly disguised donations to Republican candidates and groups in order to advance their own interests and the interests of Ukrainian politicians. Parnas then agreed to cooperate with impeachment investigators.

Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yavonovitch told House lawmakers that Parnas and Fruman were working with Giuliani to oust her in order to advance their own business interests. More broadly, the two are thought to have helped Giuliani obtain information on alleged corruption by Joe and Hunter Biden from lawmakers and other contacts in Ukraine, including former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

The Senate is currently weighing whether to convict President Trump for malfeasance in its impeachment trial. Democrats allege the president withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the country to investigate the Bidens.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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