WASHINGTON – A Ukrainian-born associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Wednesday night that "President Trump knew exactly what was going on" in Ukraine during the alleged White House pressure campaign in the Trump's accusation center.
“I was aware of all my movements. I would do nothing without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the president. I have no intention, I have no reason to speak with any of these officials, "Parnas told Rachel Maddow of MSNBC in an interview.
House Democrats accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for retaining military aid and a visit to the White House to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. That included Trump's personal request to Zelensky for an investigation, made in a July 25 call.
The "main objective" was to get the Ukrainian government to announce the investigations on Biden, Parnas said.
Parnas and another associate of Giuliani, Igor Fruman, They face unrelated campaign finance charges and the evidence in the case includes $ 325,000 allegedly contributed under a false donor name to a super political action committee for Trump.
New evidence of political judgment: Lev Parnas, associate of Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden
Earlier, Trump denied knowing the two business partners born in Ukraine when asked, dismissing a photograph that showed him with one of the men in the White House. Trump has also denied doing anything wrong with respect to Ukraine and has dismissed the political trial investigation as a "witch hunt."
"I don't know those gentlemen," Trump told reporters in South Lawn in October.
Parnas called that denial "lie" to Maddow.
The interview with Parnas comes after House Democrats published new records and evidence of him, including a photograph of a previously undisclosed letter from Giuliani to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, on May 10.
"In my capacity as personal advisor to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you next Monday, May 13 or Tuesday, May 14," Giuliani wrote.
Parnas continued in the interview: "I mean they have no reason to talk to me. Why does President Zelenskiy's intimate circle, or Minister Avakov, or all of these people, or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? ? They were told to meet with me. And that is the secret they are trying to keep. "
"He was on the ground doing his job," he said, and then said that Giuliani told officials in Ukraine that Parnas was a Trump representative and was acting on his behalf.
Parnas said he would put Giuliani on the speaker so that the president's personal lawyer would confirm that Parnas represented Trump.
Parnas also mentioned that former national security adviser John Bolton, who said he will testify if the Senate, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Representative Devin Nunes were summoned or were aware of what was happening.
Nunes is the Republican of rank in the Intelligence Committee and one of Trump's most frank supporters in Congress.
"Everyone was informed," Parnas said.
Parnas said Wednesday that the desired investigations into Biden "never had to do with corruption," as the Trump administration and its allies have said in Capitol Hill.
"It was strictly about Burisma that included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden," he said.
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Parnas and Maddow also discussed screenshots of WhatsApp messages with Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde who were released by House Democrats.
The two seem to discuss the surveillance of the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was expelled by the Trump administration, while in Ukraine.
Parnas said "there was no other motivation" to eliminate Yovanovitch, except to get her out of the pressure campaign in the announcement of the investigations.
He also stated that he met Hyde at a Trump hotel where Hyde was often "in the bar" intoxicated.
Contributors: Bart Jansen, Nicholas Wu, Kevin McCoy, Jeanine Santucci USA TODAY