Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer who worked to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, told the New York Times and the U.S.-based cable news network MSNBC that Trump was aware of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine.
Trump “knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas told Rachel Maddow in an interview broadcast Wednesday night.
The Times quoted him as saying, “I am betting my whole life that Trump knew exactly everything that was going on that Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.”
Previously, Trump has denied sending Giuliani to Ukraine to look for dirt on Biden, the former vice president and a rival in the 2020 presidential election.
But Parnas told Maddow that Trump “was aware of all my movements.”
“I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” Parnas said. “I was on the ground doing their work.”
Parnas said his function in working with Giuliani was to meet with senior Ukrainian officials in a search for evidence of corruption by Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked for Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company. Trump allegedly withheld aid to Ukraine until President Volodymyr Zelenskiy committed to investigating the Bidens, and those allegations are at the center of his impeachment by the House of Representatives.
In a tweet later Wednesday night, Katherine Faulders, White House and Capitol Hill reporter for ABC News, said she asked Giuliani if he had any comment on the interview with Parnas. He texted, “None he’s a very sad situation.”
Asked Giuliani if he had any comment on the ongoing Parnas interview and he texted me “None he’s a very sad situation.”
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) January 16, 2020
“I mean they have no reason to speak to me,” Parnas told Maddow. “Why would President Zelenskiy’s inner circle or (Interior Minister Arsen) Avakov or all these people or (former) President (Petro) Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret they’re trying to keep.”
He added that Trump’s interest in Ukraine was never about rooting out government corruption but was “all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden.”
When Maddow asked Parnas about Trump’s claim that he does not know him, Parnas said, “He lied,” adding that he was with Giuliani four or five days a week in Ukraine during which Trump was in constant contact with Giuliani.
Parnas said he wants “to get the truth out … it’s important for our country, it’s important for me … a lot of things are being said that are not accurate.”
Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, have been indicted on charges of making illegal contributions to the Trump campaign. Both have pleaded not guilty.