Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani’s indicted associates who helped him hunt for dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine, has flipped and is willing to testify to Congress that Giuliani ordered him to threaten Ukraine’s new government.
Parnas now claims that he told an aide to new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnsky in May that his government must announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son or the Trump administration would freeze military aid to the country and Vice President Mike Pence would not attend Zelensky’s inauguration, his lawyer told The New York Times.
Parnas is ready to testify about the threat in the impeachment inquiry, attorney Joseph Bondy added.
Giuliani denied the allegation.
“Categorically, I did not tell him to say that,” Giuliani told The Times.
Igor Fruman, an associate of Parnas who was also indicted but continued to defy the impeachment inquiry, said through his lawyer that they never mentioned aid or Pence at the meeting.
Serhiy Shefir, the Zelensky aide, “did not directly address” Parnas’ claims about the threat, but said in a statement to The Times that he did not believe the men “could speak on behalf of the US government.”
“It would simply defy reason,” Bondy said of Shefir’s statement, “for Mr. Shefir to have attended a meeting with Mr. Parnas if he did not believe Mr. Parnas spoke for the president, and also for Mr. Parnas not to have conveyed the president’s message at this meeting.”
Parnas flipped after Trump snub:
Parnas is a major Trump supporter who frequently appeared alongside Trump at various events.
Parnas hired former Trump lawyer John Dowd after his indictment and vowed not to cooperate with the impeachment probe.
But after Trump denied that he knew Parnas, the Giuliani associate grew so upset that he fired Dowd and agreed to cooperate with the investigation
“Mr. Parnas was very upset by President Trump’s plainly false statement that he did not know him,” Bondy told The New York Times. He added that Parnas is now “willing to comply with the subpoena.”