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Opinion We Can’t Afford to Ignore Lev Parnas’s Explosive Claims

21:30  16 january  2020
21:30  16 january  2020 Source:   theatlantic.com

House Dems release new impeachment evidence related to indicted Giuliani associate

  House Dems release new impeachment evidence related to indicted Giuliani associate It also includes a previously undisclosed May 2019 letter from Giuliani to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In the letter, Giuliani asked for a meeting with Zelensky as the former New York City mayor was pursuing investigations targeting former Vice President Joe Biden.The transmission, which reflects the unfinished nature of the House’s impeachment inquiry, comes ahead of an expected House vote on Wednesday to formally send the impeachment articles to the Senate for a trial.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

a group of people posing for the camera© Mike Segar / Reuters

Irony is thriving in the Trump administration. Consider this: The president spent months, and was ultimately impeached for, badgering the Ukrainian government to announce a probe into the natural-gas company Burisma. Yet all it took was the release of some text messages by Lev Parnas, an accused criminal with a checkered past, for Ukraine to quickly announce it is investigating alleged illegal surveillance of former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Dem lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism

  Dem lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that a lawyer for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) threatened to sue him if he did not apologize for saying last month that the Republican conspired with an associate of Rudy Giuliani. Lieu's comments were made in light of an interview Nunes gave on Fox News claiming he had spoken with Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate, but that he "didn't know his name."Lieu's comments were made in light of an interview Nunes gave on Fox News claiming he had spoken with Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate, but that he "didn't know his name.

The supposed surveillance, which is described in documents that Parnas turned over to the House Intelligence Committee, is one of several explosive claims to emerge this week. In the messages, Robert Hyde—who had contacts with the Trump family and is a Republican candidate for the U.S. House—described surveillance of Yovanovitch in Ukraine. She was abruptly fired in May 2019 after a pressure campaign directed by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer. (Parnas, for the record, told Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that he believed Hyde was telling tall tales.)

Parnas turned over notes that again suggest—as House testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland previously testified—that Trump and Giuliani were only interested in the announcement of a probe, not the fact of one. This both undermines Trump’s claim to have been trying to fight corruption in Ukraine and also indicates that the president’s goal was hurting Joe Biden and enhancing his own re-election chances.

Lev Parnas: ‘I Felt Like My Family Left Me’

  Lev Parnas: ‘I Felt Like My Family Left Me’ In an interview with The Daily Beast, Lev Parnas––an ex-associate of Rudy Giuliani’s who’s at the heart of the impeachment scandal––said he’s determined to keep speaking out about his work in Trump World regarding Ukraine despite backlash. Parnas sat with Rachel Maddow for an MSNBC interview that aired Wednesday, and then with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for another interview set to run Thursday night. In his conversation with Maddow, he said President Donald Trump knew all about his efforts to pressure Kyiv to give him political favors. And he said that Giuliani told Ukrainian leaders that Parnas specifically spoke on the president’s behalf.

Parnas also produced a May 2019 letter from Giuliani to Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky requesting a meeting with Trump. Giuliani began the letter, “I am private counsel to President Donald J. Trump. Just to be precise, I represent him as a private citizen, not as President of the United States.” This is the latest evidence to debunk Trump’s claim to have been acting in an official capacity when he pressured Ukraine.

In an interview with The New York Times, Parnas also explained how it was that Giuliani came to represent him and his partner, Igor Fruman. In Parnas’s telling, he was worried about acting as a go-between for Trump without an official capacity to ensure their safety and access. Parnas first proposed that Trump make the two men special envoys, but after speaking with Trump, Giuliani offered a new idea: He would represent Fruman and Parnas, as well as the president, thus making them all subject to shared attorney-client privilege.

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  Rachel Maddow Once Again Draws Huge Ratings for MSNBC The Nielsen ratings for the second night of Rachel Maddow’s interview with Lev Parnas Thursday on MSNBC fell short of Wednesday’s record-breaking viewership (4.5 million viewers), notching down slightly at 4.3 million. But it was the third most-watched program in the history of “The Rachel Maddow Show.” (The second most-watched was on Jan. 8, 2019.) In the key adult 25 to 54 demographic, Thursday’s continuation of the Parnas interview on “Maddow” drew 745,000, beating Fox News (621,000) and CNN (375,000). In total viewers in the 9 p.m. hour, “Maddow’s” 4.3 million meant the program beat “Hannity” (3.9 million) by that measurement as well.

The Parnas allegations go on and on. Parnas has said that Trump was kept apprised of all of his actions by Giuliani, though Parnas said he did not communicate directly with the president about them. (Though Trump has claimed not to know Parnas, there are many photos of them together floating around.) If true, this would also debunk any claim (already implausible) by Trump that he was unaware of Giuliani’s actions.

As the Senate prepares to hold a trial for Trump, with acquittal a foregone conclusion, impeachment remains a strange duck. To anyone who has seriously considered the evidence, it’s impossible to conclude that Trump’s behavior was appropriate (although it remains possible to conclude that impeachment, or removal, is still excessive.) Yet even though the House has finished impeaching Trump, and despite the appalling facts uncovered, there is much that remains unknown about the president’s actions with regard to Ukraine, thanks to both Trump’s obstruction and the haste of the Democratic House.

This makes it impossible to ignore Parnas’s claims. If true, they make the case against Trump that much more damning. They help to fill in some of the missing information, they underscore the president’s abuse of office, and they come from someone with firsthand knowledge.

Trump lawyer dismisses photos of the president with Lev Parnas, other evidence

  Trump lawyer dismisses photos of the president with Lev Parnas, other evidence Documents include photos of Lev Parnas with President Trump and of him with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Pam Bondi, a lawyer on the impeachment defense team.A document dump from the House Judiciary Committee overnight Friday included more information about Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who is currently under federal indictment for his alleged role in the political pressure campaign in Ukraine.

And yet it’s impossible to take Parnas at face value, either. Parnas, you may recall, first became a household name in October, when he was arrested with his associate Igor Fruman while attempting to leave the country, and charged with violations of election-related laws. This is a man who started a company called “Fraud Guarantee,” reportedly so that he could bury Google results about his own previous shady actions. If he is telling the truth now, he was both involved in a dastardly and preposterous scheme, and lied about it in the past.

Some of Parnas’s claims here deserve particular scrutiny, especially those not backed by documentary evidence. Though he claims Trump was aware of what was going on, he does not claim direct knowledge that this was the case. The fact that Parnas’s account squares with others, including Sondland’s, lends it some credibility. He also told Maddow that “Attorney General Barr was basically on the team,” but offers no evidence for the allegation, and no other evidence has emerged so far to support it. (A Department of Justice statement called that claim “100 percent false.)

The dilemma posed by Parnas’s claims recalls the one created by Michael Cohen’s testimony to the House last February. As Republicans eagerly noted then, Cohen was a convicted liar, preparing to go to prison on tax-fraud, campaign-finance, and other charges. His testimony was self-interested: He both had reasons to exact personal revenge on Trump, and hoped that his cooperation might induce authorities to lighten his sentence. All of this was true, but Cohen (like Parnas) brought documents to back up his claims, and his testimony has largely been substantiated since.

Don Trump Jr. says he and president met Parnas but aren't 'buddies': 'My father couldn’t pick this guy out of a lineup'

  Don Trump Jr. says he and president met Parnas but aren't 'buddies': 'My father couldn’t pick this guy out of a lineup' Donald Trump Jr. slammed the media over attempts to tie Lev Parnas to President Trump but said that he and his father had met the Ukrainian fixer. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.The president's son said he and his father had met Parnas multiple times at fundraisers but still could not "pick this guy out of a lineup." He echoed Trump’s defense that the president takes pictures with thousands of supporters, arguing that the fact that Parnas and Trump were photographed together does not mean the two worked closely.

Parnas is like Cohen in another way: Each was once a part of the Trump circle, and the president and his defenders now dismiss him as a liar and scoundrel. And as with Cohen, the defense is troubling even if true. If Cohen and Parnas are such obvious villains, how is it that they came to be close to the president, putatively working as part of his legal teams? The same question applies to any number of other criminals, con-men, and charlatan we’ve come to know over the last four years as Trump associates. The fact that he is surrounded by such people says a great deal about either his judgment or his probity. (Probably both.)

The investigations into Trump have often had to rely on questionable witnesses like Parnas because other, supposedly uncompromised people with direct knowledge have declined to speak. The Trump administration blocked testimony from acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to name only a few, and Trump has declined to speak under oath. Former National-Security Adviser John Bolton has conducted a bizarre public striptease, vacillating between hints he will or won’t testify, while saving his stories for a book; on the eve of the impeachment trial, he was spotted strolling around Qatar’s capital city.

In the absence of their testimony, the search for truth has had to depend on uncomfortable encounters with the likes of Lev Parnas. His claims can’t be believed at anything near face value. Yet they also cannot be dismissed out of hand, for the stakes are too high. As long as it’s Parnas’s story versus Trump’s, the question is which proven liar to trust.

FBI Took Two Months to Crack Lev Parnas’s iPhone 11, U.S. Says .
The Justice Department on Tuesday rebuffed allegations by a lawyer for Parnas that the government had delayed turning over the information extracted from his phone to “frustrate” his ability to comply with requests for the data from a congressional committee. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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