Parnas Ties Ukraine Pressure Campaign To Trump’s Legal Team

Lawyer for President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Soviet-born businessman who served as Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, Lev Parnas, arrive at the funeral of late President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral ... Lawyer for President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Soviet-born businessman who served as Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine, Lev Parnas, arrive at the funeral of late President George H.W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC on December 5, 2018. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS

Lev Parnas further tied President Trump’s legal team to his actions in the Ukraine pressure campaign, saying that attorneys for Trump in addition to Rudy Giuliani were “in the loop.”

The former Giuliani buddy said Trump attorney Jay Sekulow was deeply involved in several aspects of the pressure campaign.

Parnas said that Sekulow, for example, held discussions about allowing former Ukrainian general prosecutor Viktor Shokin to get a visa to visit the U.S. Shokin is both the source of and at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories damaging to Joe Biden.

Shokin never received the visa.

Sekulow will lead Trump’s defense team in his impeachment trial in the Senate, along with White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Nineties classics Ken Starr and Robert Ray will also feature, along with self-described Clinton voter-turned-pro-Trump pundit Alan Dershowitz.

Parnas’ comments to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow suggested that Sekulow will arrive at the impeachment trial with intimate, first-hand knowledge of the allegations against the President.

“Everybody was in the loop. Everybody didn’t agree with the loop,” Parnas said. “Jay Sekulow didn’t agree with what Rudy was doing, but he knew what he was doing.”

Parnas added that Sekulow “didn’t want to be involved in the Ukraine stuff.”

The visa for Shokin, Parnas alleged, would have allowed him to come to the U.S. so that Giuliani could “debrief him in front of [Sen.] Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and certain other people like the attorney general.”

That bit of political theatre also never came to pass, but another did: the impeachment inquiry. Parnas told Maddow that after receiving a subpoena from House committees investigating the President, Giuliani introduced him to John Dowd, an attorney who represented Trump for a time during the Mueller investigation.

“It was like a movie to us,” Parnas said, before adding that Dowd initially declined to represent him because his continuing work for President Trump may have constituted a “conflict.”

Dowd purportedly told Parnas that he did not think Trump would waive the conflict.

“[Dowd] didn’t think I had any relationship with the president,” Parnas recalled. “I responded to him and I said, ‘I think he will.'”

The same day, Parnas said, Sekulow signed a letter waiving the conflict, thereby allowing Dowd to represent him.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Muckraker
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: