Lev Parnas, an indicted crony of personal Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, has given House impeachment investigators a new cache of documents, including a handwritten note from the Ritz-Carlton in Vienna, Austria, that appears to document the plot to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Parnas, a naturalized American citizen born in the former Soviet Union, ran an enterprise called Fraud Guarantee and “assisted Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of President Trump,” according to a letter submitted to Congress by former Trump attorney John Dowd. (Dowd briefly represented Parnas, who now has a different lawyer.)
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Parnas was arrested on campaign finance charges last October. He has since been collaborating with prosecutors and recently received court permission to share evidence with Congress, some of which was released Tuesday evening.
An introductory letter from Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff states that “a preliminary review” of the Parnas documents “further corroborates the findings and evidence related to the President’s scheme” to abuse his official powers for personal political gain. According to the letter, “Mr. Parnas produced handwritten notes on stationery from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Vienna, Austria, that appear directly related to the President’s scheme to press Ukraine to announce investigations beneficial to his reelection campaign.”
One note looks every bit like a smoking gun.
It reads: “get Zalensky [sic] to Annonce [sic] that the Biden case will Be Investigated.”
Volodymyr Zelensky is the president of Ukraine, whom Trump personally pressed to investigate Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a troubled Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. Pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens while withholding hundreds of millions in military aid from that country is the crux of the abuse of power charge for which Trump has been impeached.
The documents provided by Parnas separately reproduce a May 10th, 2019, letter from Giuliani to Zelensky, in which Giuliani sought a meeting with the Ukranian politician, then president-elect, “in my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent.”
The Giuliani letter underscores, perhaps unintentionally, how Trump's personal and official interests diverged in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/7udo78Egs5
— Tim Dickinson (@7im) January 15, 2020
As Schiff underscores: “Mr. Giuliani’s letter makes clear that his trip, which he publicly described at the time as an effort to ‘meddle in an investigation,’ was undertaken with the knowledge and support of President Trump.”
Separately, the Parnas documents include a series of unnerving messages between Parnas and another American, Robert Hyde, concerning then Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, whose ouster over perceived disloyalty to Trump was a subject of the impeachment hearings.
The Schiff letter describes the menacing exchanges in detail:
“In March 2019, Mr. Parnas communicated by text message with Robert F. Hyde about former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. In response to some articles, tweets, and videos accusing the Ambassador of being disloyal to President Trump, Mr. Hyde wrote ‘Wow. Can’t believe Trumo [sic] hasn’t fired this bitch. I’ll get right in that.’ Mr. Hyde then sent a series of text messages suggesting that he had Ambassador Yovanovitch under physical surveillance in Kyiv and that ‘They are willing to help if we/you would like a price.'”
Schiff’s letter can be read in full here.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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