An indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani says Sen. Lindsey Graham was “in the loop” in the scheme to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.
Lev Parnas, a Ukraine-born businessman charged with campaign finance violations, told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°” that Graham has a personal interest in keeping witness testimony out of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
“Sen. Lindsey Graham I haven’t had any contact with, but because of my relationship with Rudy Giuliani, I have a lot of information about his dealings,” Parnas said. “It was, like, surreal to watch Lindsey Graham up there, sit there — he’s out there talking about all the stuff, that this is a sham, that this should go away.”
“At the end of the day,” Parnas added, “he was in the loop just like everybody else. He (had) a very good relationship with Rudy Giuliani, he was aware of what was going on going back to at least 2018, maybe even earlier. If you recall, he was the one Rudy Giuliani was supposed to bring Viktor Shokin to when the visa got denied, and I think he was even, if you check the records, involved in getting the request for the visa somehow.”
Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy released letters Wednesday signed by a Ukraine-born U.S. citizen Michael Guralnik to both Graham and Sigal Mandelker, then a top official at the U.S. Treasury Department pushing for sanctions against various Ukrainian political and business leaders.
A month or so later Giuliani tried to help Shokin, a former top prosecutor in Ukraine regarded as corrupt by the previous administration and U.S. allies, obtain a visa to meet with Graham in the U.S.
“Sen. Graham was involved even before I got involved with Mayor Giuliani, so he had to have been in the loop and had to have known what was going on,” Parnas said. “I was with Giuliani every day, that was what was happening.”
Parnas told CNN he was “1 million percent” sure that Graham was aware of his and Giuliani’s efforts to press Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden.
“Rudy told me not once but on several occasions that he spoke to Lindsey Graham about the situation, that Lindsey was always aware,” he said. “I don’t know how deeply aware, I didn’t speak to Lindsey Graham, I don’t have text messages with him, we didn’t interact, so I can only speak from what Rudy told me.”
Parnas claims he donated to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who recently cut an ad against Trump’s impeachment, and various super PACs associated with GOP senators, as well as campaigning with Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).
Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, claims GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham "was in the loop" about their efforts in Ukraine to uncover dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. https://t.co/rBb1nC4vRG pic.twitter.com/lEgPB8gUQ7
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 30, 2020
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"Governors all over the country are echoing the cries of the sick, the scared, the desperate on the front line, and the president's response to their calls for help? Ask nicely," said Cuomo, playing a clip of Trump at the day's press conference.
"All I want them to do, very simple. I want them to be appreciative," said Trump in the clip. "I say, Mike [Pence], don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan. It doesn't make any difference what happens. If they don't treat you right, I don't call."
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"We heard from the president last night questioning whether he really believed that New York City needed the 30,000 ventilators that Governor [Andrew] Cuomo says he needs. What is the need?" host Berman asked. "Doesn't the federal government tell us how many ventilators we need and how many we have, and isn't there a discrepancy there?"