Lev Parnas says in interviews that Trump ‘knew what was going on’ in Ukraine


(JTA) — Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian-American businessman charged with campaign finance violations related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal, said in a series of media interviews that President Donald Trump “knew exactly what was going on” in Ukraine.

Parnas spoke to several news outlets, including MSNBC, The New York Times and CNN on Wednesday night, as the U.S. House of Representatives voted to formally send the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate.

Parnas allegedly helped Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani coax Ukrainian officials to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son over the latter’s seat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer. Parnas and another Ukrainian-American Jewish businessman, Igor Fruman, have pleaded not guilty to charges of campaign finance violations related to the scandal.

House impeachment investigators released material that Parnas had turned over to them including text messages, photos and calendar entries.

“He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night.

Parnas told The New York Times that while he did not speak to Trump directly about efforts to jump-start a Ukrainian investigation, he was told by Giuliani that the president was kept in the loop.

Trump has denied knowing Parnas and Fruman, though there are several photos of them together, and there are reports that Fruman and Parnas had a private meeting with Trump and Giuliani during a White House party in December 2018.

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