Giuliani Pal Lev Parnas Accuses Trump of Clear Quid Pro Quo: ‘All Aid’ Was Predicated on Biden Investigation Announcement
Rudy Giuliani confidante Lev Parnas explicitly implicated President Donald Trump in a scheme to extract a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian government during a bombshell interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, telling her that he personally communicated a message to a Ukrainian official that “it wasn’t just military aid, all aid” was threatened to be withheld unless President Volodymyr Zelensky announced an investigation into the Bidens.
Parnas comments came after he had already claimed that, despite Trump’s public claims to the contrary, the president was intimately aware of Parnas and Giuliani’s shadow foreign policy conduct in Ukraine. Parnas also dismissed the president’s claim that his request to Zelensky to probe the gas company Burisma was motivated by a broader concern for rooting out corruption: “It was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden.”
“It’s been reported as far as we understand from public reporting that you conveyed to [senior Zelensky aide Sergey] Schafer the exact quid pro quo that you wanted Zelensky to announce investigations into Joe Biden or military aid would not be released to Ukraine. Is that accurate?” Maddow asked.
“I was a little bit more than that,” Parnas replied, before effectively describing a shakedown threat. “Basically, the message that I was supposed to, that I gave Sergei Shaffer was a very harsh message that was told to me to give it to him in a very harsh way, not a pleasant way.”
“Who told you to give it to him in a harsh way,” Maddow followed up.
“Mayor Giuliani,” Parnas said. “Rudy told me after, you know meeting the president at the White House, the message was it wasn’t just military aid, it was all aid. Basically their relationships would be sour, that we would stop giving them any kind of aid.”
“Unless…?” Maddow pressed.
“Unless — there were several demands at that point. A, the most important was the announcement of the Biden investigation,” Parnas said. He went on to note that he also held out the promise of a White House visit for Zelensky, which was a highly sought after moment for the new president.
“I know it sounds crazy, but more support from the president, by having a White House visit, by having a big inauguration, by having the dignitaries there. That was the key,” Parnas said.”The announcement was the key at that time because of the inauguration, that [Vice President Mike] Pence would not show up. Nobody would show up to the inauguration.”
Pence canceled his planned visit to the Ukrainian inauguration the day after Parnas met with Schafer.
“You believe Mr. Pence’s trip to the inauguration was canceled because [Ukraine] didn’t agree…” Maddow asked.
“Oh I know 100%. It was 100%. The chain of events, that was key to where we are today,” Parnas claimed. “After that, take a look at what transpires. Next within the next couple days, they realize that now they get word. Obviously when Pence cancels, they get word. So now they realize that what I was was telling them was true.”
Parnas said Trump, Pence, Attorney General William Barr and national security adviser John Bolton were all “in the loop” on the scheme.
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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