This evening we got additional confirmation that Ukraine scandal henchman Lev Parnas is selling out everyone around him as fast as he can. Parnas ditched his Trump-affiliated lawyer and announced he was going to fully cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry. Now he’s giving the media some of the dirt he’s going to dish out. It raises the question of why Parnas appears to be doing this without a plea deal.
Last week Lev Parnas publicly let it be known that his feelings had been hurt when Donald Trump publicly disavowed him after his arrest. We take that as more of a sign that Parnas realized Trump isn’t planning to pardon him, and that Parnas’ only chance of a lenient prison sentence is if he cooperates as meaningfully as possible. But that would require cutting a cooperating plea deal with the Feds at the SDNY who had him arrested to begin with – and for all the reporting about Parnas’ cooperating with the House impeachment probe, there is still no indication of any cooperation deal.
There are a few plausible explanations for what’s going on here. One would be that Parnas doesn’t trust the Feds enough to cut a plea deal with them, because the SDNY ultimately answers to Bill Barr’s compromised DOJ. Another would be that Parnas does have an agreement in place with the SDNY, but it hasn’t been made official yet so that Barr can’t screw with it.
The most plausible explanation would be that Lev Parnas is going straight to the House impeachment inquiry simply because time is of the essence when it comes to the impeachment process, and the sooner he testifies to the House, the more of an impact he can have on the outcome. Parnas may be wagering that if he plays a major role in steering the impeachment process toward justice, he can use that goodwill to negotiate a favorable plea deal with the post-Trump iteration of the DOJ.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report