Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Uncategorized

Lev Parnas Says Trump Is Like a ‘Cult Leader’

WASHINGTON — To hear Lev Parnas tell it, President Trump’s inner circle feels like “a cult,” one that Parnas only quit after a fiery breakdown in a jailhouse visiting room following his arrest in October. Now, the ex-associate of Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani claims he’s telling the story of all the things he did as…

Lev Parnas Says Trump Is Like a ‘Cult Leader’

WASHINGTON — To hear Lev Parnas tell it, President Trump’s inner circle feels like “a cult,” one that Parnas only quit after a fiery breakdown in a jailhouse visiting room following his arrest in October.

Now, the ex-associate of Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani claims he’s telling the story of all the things he did as a citizen of Trumpworld, including the unsavory parts, and the things he now regrets. And, especially, how he pressured the government of Ukraine, the country where he was born, to deliver political favors for Trump.

Parnas, a businessman now facing criminal charges for allegedly funneling illegal foreign donations to GOP political campaigns, revealed more details of his journey through Trump’s orbit in a second installment of his interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday night, including his angry showdown with Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd while in jail.

And he revealed just how far he’s come: From a former Trump super-fan, to a man now clamoring to become a key fact witness against Trump in the Senate impeachment trial, which officially got underway yesterday.

Parnas now tells CNN he had so much MAGA paraphernalia in his home that his wife was embarrassed when FBI agents, under the aegis of Trump’s Department of Justice, arrived to search the place last fall.

Now, he’s alleging that Trump’s top aides were “in the loop” about a grand scheme to press Ukraine to announce an investigation of Trump’s potential Democratic 2020 rival, former vice president Joe Biden, to help Trump get reelected this fall.

READ: Lev Parnas is a risky witness. Democrats might bring him in, anyway.

He’s already listed several officials who he claims knew all about that effort, including Trump, Giuliani, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Now he’s naming even more — including former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and the man set to defend Trump at the forthcoming impeachment proceedings, Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.

And he’s making further, if more nuanced, assertions against America’s top diplomat: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Trump’s energy guy: Rick Perry

Parnas dragged Perry directly into the Ukraine scheme.

Perry was the replacement for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the May inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, after Pence pulled out in what Parnas described as a power move meant to force an announcement of the probe.

American diplomatic support is seen as vitally important in Ukraine as it struggles to end a bloody conflict with Russian-backed separatists in its eastern regions. Ukraine wants the symbolism of Washington’s backing to show strength to Moscow as it tries to reach a negotiated settlement.

Parnas says he told a senior advisor to Zelensky in May that the U.S. would cut all financial and diplomatic support for the war-torn country if the investigation announcement didn’t come soon. Ukraine didn’t make a statement, so Pence pulled out of the trip to Zelensky’s inauguration, Parnas says.

READ: Trump’s White House broke the law withholding aid to Ukraine, GAO finds

Rick Perry went to Ukraine instead — and at some point, he delivered the message to Zelensky about the investigations, according to Parnas.

Before the inauguration, Perry called Giuliani, who told Perry what to say, Parnas said. Afterwards, Perry called Giuliani again and said Zelensky agreed to make the announcement.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

But Zelensky didn’t deliver: He made a bland announcement about battling corruption in general, according to Parnas.

“Giuliani blew his lid on that, saying, ‘That’s not what we discussed,’” Parnas told Maddow. “It wasn’t supposed to be a corruption announcement. It has to be about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma.”

Trump’s statesman: Mike Pompeo

But Parnas painted a more complex picture of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Parnas suggests that Pompeo was regularly in touch with Giuliani, but seemingly slow to fire the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, despite Trump’s repeated orders, for reasons that remain unclear.

Page 1 of 2
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2020 Tribune Media LLC