Releasing documents damaging to “president” Donald Trump and his henchman Rudy Giuliani apparently wasn’t enough for Lev Parnas. He’s now talking. Parnas sat down with Rachel Maddow to discuss the Ukraine debacle. According to Parnas, “president” Trump “knew exactly what was going on” in Ukraine. Parnas, who was joined by his counsel, said that he was their “on the ground person” in manufacturing dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden. In addition to exposing Trump’s involvement in this criminal scheme, Parnas said that AG Bill Barr “was basically on the team” and that John Bolton was also aware. According to the Guardian, which reported on Parnas’ appearance, there are additional documents that have not yet been released that House prosecutors plan to present during the impeachment trial.
Parnas got very specific in his interview. He said that he was instructed by Giuliani to inform Ukraine officials that unless an investigation into the Bidens was announced, Mike Pence would not attend Zelensky’s inauguration. Parnas further alleges that the next day, Trump called Ukraine himself to advise that Pence would be canceling his trip. This means Pence was in on the extortion scheme, though we already expected that to be the case. Parnas claims that Trump’s decision to withhold military aid and cut off all relations came up after Ukrainian officials declined to investigate the Bidens.
Speaking of withholding military aid, the Guardian also reported that the Government Accountability Office investigated and concluded that Trump violated the law by freezing those funds. The GOA report specifically stated: “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.” Not surprisingly, the Office of Budget Management “disagrees” with the report. Rachel Semmel, OMB spokesperson, claims that “OMB uses its apportionment authority to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly spent consistent with the President’s priorities and with the law.” The problem is that with this “president,” those two things rarely, if ever, coincide.
Given everything that’s already going on with Trump’s messes, it should be no surprise that Ukraine has launched an investigation into the threats against Marie Yovanovitch, and it’s a criminal investigation. According to the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, their policy is to stay out of domestic affairs; however, they believe that international laws may have been broken. Specifically, he posted that “the published records contain the fact of possible violation of the legislation of Ukraine and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which protects the rights of a diplomat in the territory of another country.”
So, while Robert Hyde how claims he was “just kidding,” Ukraine is taking his threats very seriously, as they should. It doesn’t take a criminal law scholar to recognize a threat when it is seen in writing. How can “they will let me know when she moves” be a joke? Either Hyde was surveilling Yovanovitch as he initially claimed, or he was pulling the proverbial wool over Giuliani and Parnas’ eyes. Parnas is clear, however, that they were indeed trying to get Yovanovitch removed so that “president” Trump and his henchmen could do their dirty work. It’s going to be interesting to see how all this turns out. Let the impeachment trial begin.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years