Lev Parnas arrives at Federal Court on December 17, 2019 in New York City. Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, appears in court on Tuesday as federal prosecutors seek to have his bail revoked for allegedly concealing a $1 million payment they say he received from Russia before his arrest.
Stephanie Keith | Getty Images
A trove of new evidence in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump will be delivered to the Senate by the House Judiciary Committee, according to several House committee chairs who announced the news Tuesday.
The evidence includes new text messages and phone records from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian American business partner of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. The trove also includes a letter Giuliani addressed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday May 14th,” Giuliani wrote in a letter that Parnas passed on to a Zelenskiy aide, according to the documents.
The documents shed new light on the president’s level of involvement in Giuliani’s efforts last spring to pressure the Ukrainian government to open investigations into Trump’s political rivals.
They also reveal that Trump personally agreed to let his former attorney, John Dowd, take on Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, as legal clients after the two were arrested in October on campaign finance charges.
The new information provided by Parnas, which includes copies of handwritten letters, phone records and other back-channel communications with foreign officials, was made public a day before the House votes to send the articles to the Senate for Trump’s impeachment trial.
Trump has insisted throughout the impeachment inquiry that he had little to no knowledge of what Giuliani was doing for months in Ukraine, as Giuliani and Parnas sought out Ukrainian lawmakers in the country’s newly elected administration, and tried to press them into helping Trump by politically damaging Trump’s 2020 presidential rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
But the newly released documents include a draft letter dated May 10, 2019 from Giuliani to Ukraine’s then president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Giuliani asks for a meeting.
“In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th,” Giuliani wrote. “I will need no more than a half-hour of your time and I will be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing, a distinguished American attorney who is very familiar with this matter.”
Parnas texted a copy of that draft letter to a Zelenskiy aide, according to House Democrats. The meeting was apparently canceled.
Giuliani’s claim in the May letter about Trump’s knowledge of his outreach sharply contrasts with Trump’s insistence that he had no idea what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.
As recently as last November, Trump was asked by former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf.Trump replied that had no idea.
“You have to ask that to Rudy, but Rudy, I don’t, I don’t even know. I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled a trip. But, you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I’m one person,” Trump told O’Reilly.
The president added that Giuliani has done “a lot of work in Ukraine over the years, and I think, I mean, that’s what I heard, I might have even read that someplace.”
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