Thursday , October 29 2020

Lev Parnas, Key Player in Ukraine Affair, Completes Break With Trump and Giuliani – The New York Times, Nytimes.com


In an interview, he said the president knew everything about the effort to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 election.

Lev Parnas, a ***************** Soviet-born businessman who played a central role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of the president, last month in New York.
. ..(Brendan Mcdermid / Reuters
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************************Published Jan. (************************************************************************************, ********************************************************** Updated Jan. (**********************************************************************************, ********************************************************,**********************************************************************************: am ET

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WASHINGTON – Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who played a central role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of President Trump, completed his break with the White House on Wednesday, asserting for the first time in public that the president was fully aware of the efforts to dig up damaging information on his behalf.

  • In an interview with The New York Times on the day the Housetransmitted articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump
    to the Senate, Mr. Parnas also expressed regret for having trusted Mr. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and the architect of the Ukraine pressure campaign. His lawyer said he was eager to cooperate with federal prosecutors investigating Mr. Giuliani.Parnas made his remarks as House impeachment investigators released more material he had turned over to them. The material, including text messages, photos and calendar entries, underscored how deeply Mr. Parnas and others were involved in carrying out the pressure campaign and how new information continues to surface even as the Senate prepares to begin Mr. Trump’s trial next week. And it provided additional evidence that the effort to win political advantage for Mr. Trump was widely known among his allies, showing that Mr. Parnas communicated regularly with two top Republican fund-raisers about what he was up to.

    Text messages and call logs show that Mr. Parnas was in contact with Tom Hicks Jr., a donor and Trump family friend, and Joseph Ahearn, who raised money for pro-Trump political groups, about developments in the Ukraine pressure campaign.

  • In the text messages, Mr. Parnas kept Mr. Hicks and Mr. Ahearn apprised of efforts to publishinate damaging information about targets of Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani, including theUnited States ambassador to Kyiv (***********************************, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukrainians who spread information about Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s (campaign chairman.The records seem to expand the circle of people around Mr. Trump who were aware in real time of the pressure campaign. The campaign led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment in the House last month
    and a Senate trial that will start next week just as the presidential campaign is moving into high gear.

    In the interview with The Times, Mr. Parnas said that although he did not speak with Mr. Trump directly about the efforts, he met with the president on several occasions and was told by Mr. Giuliani that Mr. Trump was kept in the loop. Mr. Parnas indicated in particular to text messages,released by the House this week

    , in which Mr. Giuliani refers to an effort to obtain a visa for a former Ukrainian official who leveled corruption allegations against Mr. Biden.

    In the messages, Mr. Giuliani boasted of the effort to secure the visa: “It’s going to work I have no 1 in it.” Mr. Parnas said the reference to No. 1 was to Mr. Trump.“I am betting my whole life that Trump knew exactly everything that was going on that Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, ”Mr. Parnas said.

    Parnas, an American citizen whowas arrested in October

    on largely unrelated federal criminal charges, expressed remorse for his role in helping the Ukrainian pressure campaign, but pinned blame on the president and Mr. Giuliani. “My biggest regret is trusting so much,” he said . “I thought I was being a patriot and helping the president,” he said, adding that he “thought by listening to the president and his attorney that I couldn’t possibly get in trouble or do anything wrong.”

  • Now that he faces criminal charges in the Southern District of New York, Mr. Parnas, who has pleaded not guilty, is looking to cooperate with prosecutors in his case, who are conducting a broader investigation into Mr. Giuliani and his dealings in Ukraine.
  • “We very much want to be heard in the Southern District,” Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, said in the interview with The Times. “We very much want to provide substantial assistance to the government.” Taken together, the comments on Wednesday capped a stunning turnabout for a man who was a Trump donor and once considered himself a close friend of Mr. Giuliani, who is a godfather to his son.Giuliani said in a text message on Wednesday that it was “sad to watch how the Trump haters are using” Mr. Parnas. He attributed Mr. Parnas’s willingness to share documents with congressional Democrats to a desire for “attention.”
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