Indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said President Donald Trump was aware of the effort to get dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine and said other administration officials were in on it too.
"I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent — I have no reason to speak to any of these officials. I mean, they have no reason to speak to me," Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in his first interview since his campaign finance arrest. "Why would President Zelensky's inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I?"
"They were told to meet with me, and that's the secret that they're trying to keep," he said. "I was on the ground doing their work."
Parnas also contradicted Trump’s claim that the effort was aimed at rooting out corruption in Ukraine.
"It was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden . . . It was never about corruption," he said.
Pence knew, Parnas says:
Parnas told Maddow that Vice President Mike Pence canceled his scheduled trip to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration one day after he delivered a threat on behalf of Giuliani that all aid to Ukraine would be blocked if it did not publicly announce investigations sought by Trump.
"The most important was the announcement of the Biden investigation," he said.
Parnas claimed he knows “100 percent” that Pence canceled the visit because Ukraine did not meet the demand.
"The chain of events, that was key to where we are today," said Parnas. "After that, take a look at what transpires. Next within the next couple days, they realize that now they got word. Obviously when Pence cancels, they get word. So now they realize that what I was telling them was true."
He added that Pence "couldn't have not known" because “everybody was in the loop.”
A spokesman for Mike Pence denied the allegation and said Parnas is lying in hopes of staying out of prison.
Parnas said that he did not have “much of a relationship” with top Intelligence Committee Republican Devin Nunes but met him “several times” at a Trump hotel bar.
Parnas said Nunes introduced him to his aide, Derek Harvey, to avoid being in the “spotlight.”
Parnas claimed Nunes "was looking into this Ukraine stuff also, and wanted to help out." Harvey, he said, "knew about it already. He had a lot of information already."
Parnas claimed he was later “in shock” to see Nunes at the impeachment hearings because he and Harvey were "involved in getting all of this stuff on Biden."
"[Nunes] knew very well that he knew what was going on, what was happening. He knows who I am," he added.