The White House will block any attempt to summon Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Parnas, who was involved in Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, made explosive claims regarding President Trump’s involvement in Ukraine during a series of interviews released on Wednesday.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas said in an interview with 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 accused Attorney General William Barr of being aware of Giuliani’s and Trump’s actions but Barr denied that he had any knowledge of such dealings.
In testimony during House impeachment hearings, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch alleged Parnas and associate Igor Fruman, along with Giuliani, were working to oust her in order to advance Parnas’s and Fruman’s business interests. The two are also thought to have worked with former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko to obtain information on the Bidens.
The Ukrainian businessman was indicted in October on campaign-finance charges, and is accused of disguising donations to Republican candidates to advance his personal interests and those of other Ukrainian politicians.
President Trump’s impeachment defense team, which includes heavyweight attorney Alan Dershowitz and former Clinton impeachment manager Ken Starr, announced on Monday it will call on the Senate to “swiftly reject” the articles of impeachment.
“The Senate should speedily reject these articles of impeachment and acquit the President,” reads a trial brief released by the team. “All that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Democrats allege President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden.