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New Parnas Documents Show Giuliani Asked for Zelensky Meeting with Trump's 'Knowledge and Consent'

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New Parnas Documents Show Giuliani Asked for Zelensky Meeting with Trump's 'Knowledge and Consent'

2020-01-16 10:54:341 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Les Parnas and Rudy Giuliani (Image source: Screenshot)

This is January 2020, and we're still not done hearing new evidence in the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump and his discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that indicates he was bribing him with a White House visit and military aid to conduct investigations of his political opponents. House Democrats this week released documents from Lev Parnas that show Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, asked for a meeting with Zelensky with his client's "knowledge and consent."

As the House formally turned over the articles of impeachment to the Senate, these documents show not only the efforts to set up a meeting but also the efforts to get then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, removed from her position. 

Preparing for the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, the House Intelligence Committee looked through the great amount of material Parnas turned over to them. The timing suggests the documents may be used when the House makes its case in the trial. The documents were hand-delivered by Parnas's attorney, Joseph Bondy, from an iPhone to House Intelligence staff.

Some of the documents were made public after the House looked through them, including a letter from Giuliani to Zelensky, who was president-elect at the time. The letter requested a meeting, with Giuliani saying he was working "with the president's knowledge and consent." 

Also included are text messages between Parnas and Zelensky's aides, as he worked to secure the Zelensky-Giuliani meeting and provided negative information about 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Some of the text messages are with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who initially provided Giuliani with a conspiracy theory about the Bidens, as he worked to eliminate Yovanovitch from her position. He suggested he wanted her removed if he was going to provide the allegations about "B" to Giuliani. "If you don't make a decision about Madam — you are bringing into question all my allegations. Including about B," he said. 

Also included in the document dump is a note written on Vienna, Austria, Ritz-Carlton stationery. Bondy says that it was Parnas who wrote, "get Zalensky [sic] to Annonce [sic] that the Biden case will be investigated." There are also messages that suggest Yovanovitch may have been being tracked.

"I think it's something we can't ignore," said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), who is on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. "To what extent we can get through it before the Senate trial remains to be seen." 

Bondi tweeted about the release of the records, "HPSCI has just transmitted evidence from Lev Parnas to the Judiciary Committee, which is deemed relevant to @POTUS' impeachment inquiry. Mr. Parnas remains committed to testifying as to all the actions he took in Ukraine on behalf of @realDonaldTrump."

Giuliani's letter asking for a meeting with Zelensky mid-May of 2019 was included as a screenshot in a text message from Parnas to Zelensky aide Serhiy Shefir. "Along with many others, I am very hopeful that your election is a real turning point and allows the Ukraine to prosper and overcome some of the longstanding problems of the past," wrote Giuliani. 

"In my capacity as personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent, I request a meeting with you on this upcoming Monday, May 13th, or Tuesday, May 14th. I will need no more than half hour of your time, and I will be accompanied by my colleague Victoria Toensing, a distinguished American attorney who is very familiar with this matter."

Later text messages between Parnas and Shefir show they met up in Kyiv at Restaurant Prague after Giuliani's trip was canceled.  

Also revealed in the documents is Giuliani and Parnas's efforts to help former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin a visa that had been denied by the State Department. Giuliani pulled another Trump attorney, Jay Sekulow, into it, but the visa was never issued.

Parnas also communicated with Ivan Bakanov, the chief of Ukraine's Security Service. He sent articles to him that contained smears and "false allegations" about Biden. Bakanov then shared the articles with Zelensky. 

Revealed in the document dump was that Republican Connecticut congressional candidate Robert Hyde was involved in this as well. He went off in a series of texts about a person that the House committee officials revealed to be Yovanovitch.

"F--- that bitch," he wrote to Parnas, in response to articles and tweets Parnas had sent him. The following day he wrote, "Wow. Can't believe Trumo [sic] hasn't fired this bitch. I'll get right in that." 

It's suggested that he put her under surveillance after he wrote, "Wake up Yankees man. She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off. She's next to the embassy. Not in the embassy. Private security. Been there since Thursday." He added, "That address I sent you checks out" and "they are willing to help if we/you would like a price," then wrote, "Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money — what I was told."

Schiff isn't sure whether this new information will be able to make it into the impeachment trial. "This is going to be a partisan resolution by Mitch McConnell, and I'm sure it will be drafted with the White House lawyers to give the president every advantage," he said on MSNBC 

"I will say this, though: it's going to be hard for the Senate to ignore information that comes into the public record and say we're not going to consider that, even though it's directly relevant, even though it's directly incriminating."

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