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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Fruman, Igor"

Beyond the Partisan Fight, a Wealth of Evidence About Trump and Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group 04dc-evidence1-facebookJumbo Beyond the Partisan Fight, a Wealth of Evidence About Trump and Ukraine Zelensky, Volodymyr Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Shokin, Viktor Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Burisma Holdings Ltd Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — When all the partisan posturing, parliamentary wrangling and legalistic arguing are stripped away, the impeachment process that dominated Washington for months produced a set of facts that is largely beyond dispute: The president of the United States pressured a foreign government to take actions aimed at his political opponents.

As the Senate moved toward acquitting President Trump on Wednesday, even some Republicans stopped trying to defend his actions or dispute the evidence, focusing instead on the idea that his conduct did not deserve removal from office, especially in an election year.

Mr. Trump’s “behavior was shameful and wrong,” and “his personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation,” Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said on Monday. She went on to declare that she would nonetheless vote to acquit.

Mr. Trump’s public statements, plus testimony and documents introduced during the impeachment process and revelations independent from the congressional inquiry, establish a narrative of the president’s involvement in the effort led by Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to persuade Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating two topics.

One centered on purported efforts by Ukrainians to undercut Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The other was the overlap between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine and his son Hunter Biden’s position on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company widely associated with accusations of corruption.

There are still unanswered questions about the details of Mr. Trump’s involvement, and additional information could emerge later.

But a review of thousands of documents and dozens of interviews reveals how Mr. Trump developed a bitter grudge against Ukraine and then became personally involved in pressuring its leaders. Evidence of Mr. Trump’s role comes from a variety of sources.

Some of the clearest evidence comes from Mr. Trump’s own statements, both in his phone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25 and in public remarks he later made.

A reconstructed transcript of the call, made public by the White House in October, makes clear that Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian president to pursue investigations into the Bidens and into one element of his belief that Ukraine worked against his election in 2016: a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine rather than Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and that Ukraine had possession of a server that would shed light on the theory.

I would like you to do us a favor though,” Mr. Trump said, asking Mr. Zelensky’s government to work with Attorney General William P. Barr and Mr. Giuliani to pursue the investigations.

“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike,” Mr. Trump said, referring to an American cybersecurity firm and the debunked theory about Ukraine’s involvement in the hack of the Democratic Party. “The server, they say Ukraine has it.”

He went on to bring up the Bidens.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Mr. Trump said, according to the reconstructed transcript. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it.”

What Mr. Trump first said in private to Mr. Zelensky, he later said in public. In early October, answering questions from reporters outside the White House, Mr. Trump repeated and expanded on his calls for foreign help in investigating the Bidens.

“I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens,” Mr. Trump said. “Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked.”

He also suggested that Ukraine was not the only country that should dig into Hunter Biden’s international business dealings.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump has defended himself by saying that there was nothing wrong with asking another government for help in fighting corruption.

Mr. Trump removed a United States diplomat from her post after Mr. Giuliani and his associates accused her of opposing him politically and impeding their push for the investigations. And the president directed other government officials to work with Mr. Giuliani as he sought a public commitment from Mr. Zelensky to pursue those investigations.

In conversations with Mr. Trump in early 2019, Mr. Giuliani claimed that the United States ambassador to Kyiv, Marie L. Yovanovitch, a widely respected 33-year career diplomat, was hindering efforts to gather evidence from Ukrainians to defend the president and to target his rivals.

Mr. Trump connected Mr. Giuliani with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late March to discuss the allegations, according to an interview with Mr. Giuliani and emails showing at least two telephone calls between the men, including one arranged with guidance from Mr. Trump’s personal assistant.

Mr. Trump ordered the recall of Ms. Yovanovitch in late April. Later, during the July phone call with Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Trump called her “bad news” and said, “she’s going to go through some things.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo “relied on” Mr. Giuliani’s claims in their decision to oust Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Giuliani said.

In early May, Mr. Trump asked John R. Bolton, his national security adviser at the time, to call Mr. Zelensky to ensure he would meet with Mr. Giuliani, according to Mr. Bolton’s unpublished book manuscript. Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani denied Mr. Bolton’s account.

When Mr. Giuliani failed in his efforts to meet with Mr. Zelensky to press for the investigations, Mr. Trump enlisted an ad hoc team to work with Mr. Giuliani. The team included Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union; Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine; and Rick Perry, then the energy secretary.

When the three government officials sought to convince Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky deserved the full support of the United States, the president responded with anger toward the Ukrainians during a late May meeting. “They’re terrible people,” Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Volker’s testimony. “They’re all corrupt, and they tried to take me down.”

If they wanted to engage further with Ukraine, Mr. Trump told them, they would need to coordinate with Mr. Giuliani. “He just kept saying: ‘Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy,’” Mr. Sondland later testified.

Over the next few months, according to extensive evidence introduced in the House impeachment inquiry, Mr. Sondland and Mr. Volker would work to convince the Ukrainians that in order for Mr. Zelensky to be granted a key request — a high-profile Oval Office meeting signaling United States support for his government in its conflict with Russia — he would have to commit to the investigations sought by Mr. Trump.

The White House meeting was not the only leverage used by Mr. Trump’s team in pressuring the Ukrainians.

In late June, Mr. Trump told top aides to look into the military assistance the United States provides to Ukraine, setting in motion a process that led him to order the withholding of $391 million in congressionally approved aid that Ukraine needed for its grinding war against Russian-backed separatists.

Mr. Trump’s order distressed officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department, and eventually Kyiv, where at least some officials were aware of the aid freeze as early as July 25, according to officials in Ukraine and the United States. The freeze was not made public until the end of August.

The senior members of Mr. Trump’s national security team tried in August to persuade him to release the aid, but he refused.

Mr. Sondland eventually told Ukrainian officials that the release of the assistance would be dependent on Mr. Zelensky publicly committing to an investigation of Burisma, according to testimony in impeachment proceedings from Mr. Sondland and William B. Taylor Jr., who served as the top American diplomat in Kyiv after Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall.

The aid was released in September, after the freeze was made public and congressional Republicans lobbied Mr. Trump to release the money — and after Mr. Trump became aware of a whistle-blower complaint detailing key elements of the pressure campaign. Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, later told a news briefing that the aid had been withheld as part of the pressure campaign — and then tried to walk back his comments.

Mr. Trump’s defense has been that he wanted to make sure the aid would not be squandered by corruption in Ukraine, and that the money was released without Mr. Zelensky agreeing to the investigations.

Mr. Trump’s grievances with Ukraine date from his 2016 campaign but were channeled into action by Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who in April 2018 became part of the legal team defending the president against the special counsel’s investigation. Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly cited attorney-client privilege in refusing to divulge details of their conversations about Ukraine.

But in interviews, public statements and material gathered by House impeachment investigators, Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged that his Ukraine-related efforts were initiated and pursued with Mr. Trump’s knowledge and consent.

That was something he made explicit in a letter that he sent Mr. Zelensky in May 2019. In the letter, Mr. Giuliani sought a meeting with Mr. Zelensky during a planned trip to Kyiv, where, he told The New York Times at the time, he intended to press the Ukrainians to carry out the investigations sought by Mr. Trump. Mr. Giuliani canceled the trip, and the meeting with Mr. Zelensky never happened.

Mr. Giuliani’s initial interest was in undermining the special counsel’s investigation by raising questions about some of the events on its periphery. He sought to cast doubt on the authenticity of a ledger showing off-the-books payments from a Russia-aligned Ukrainian party earmarked for Paul Manafort, who served as Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016. Mr. Giuliani also questioned the motivations of the Ukrainians who disseminated it and their relationships with officials at the United States Embassy in Kyiv, who, he argued, were aligned with Hillary Clinton and out to get Mr. Trump.

Mr. Giuliani enlisted two Soviet-born American businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, to help him connect early last year with Ukrainian prosecutors who could be of assistance. Those prosecutors made unsubstantiated claims about the Bidens’ work in Ukraine that Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani would embrace in subsequent months, as the president ramped up his re-election campaign and the former vice president made clear he would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge him.

Even after Democrats began impeachment proceedings, Mr. Giuliani continued trying to collect information from Ukrainians who he argued would prove that Mr. Trump was justified in calling for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the ledger.

In December, Mr. Giuliani told an associate that he briefed Mr. Trump before traveling to Budapest and Kyiv to film interviews with former Ukrainian officials. As soon as Mr. Giuliani returned from the trip, Mr. Trump reportedly asked him what he had collected. “More than you can imagine,” he replied.

Mr. Giuliani has told his associates that he played the videos of his interviews for an appreciative Mr. Trump.

Ben Protess contributed reporting from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

6 Revelatory Moments From the Video of Trump’s Private Donor Dinner

Westlake Legal Group trump-dinner-facebookJumbo 6 Revelatory Moments From the Video of Trump’s Private Donor Dinner Yovanovitch, Marie L Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Politics and Government Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

A video recording released on Saturday of President Trump speaking in 2018 to a group of donors at a private dinner, including two businessmen at the center of the impeachment inquiry, made headlines this weekend for capturing Mr. Trump saying that the ambassador to Ukraine should be removed from her post.

The video was recorded on the phone of one of the businessmen, Igor Fruman. It was made public by a lawyer for Lev Parnas, the other businessman. Both men have worked with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to carry out a pressure campaign on Ukraine, and Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed not to know them.

The recording undercut those claims, providing fodder for Democrats trying to persuade Republicans to support their calls to expand the impeachment inquiry.

But it also provided a remarkable, inside view at how wealthy and politically connected donors interact behind closed doors with the president of the United States.

Here we look at six revelatory moments from the recording, which was captured at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on April 30, 2018.

Time stamp: 21 minutes

At one point, one of the guests asked Mr. Trump to hold his upcoming meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in Songdo, a business district on the western coast of South Korea.

A New York-based firm, Gale International, is helping develop the district there.

“My family, specifically, and the Gales, as well, would be honored if you would consider it,” the guest told the president.

Mr. Trump responded, “We’re very far down the line, but I will,” and then quickly changed the subject.

“You know that Kim Jong-un is a great golfer. You know that, right?” Mr. Trump told the guests, who included Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson of the legendary golfer.

As the dinner party erupted in laughter, one of the guests said to Mr. Trump of Mr. Kim, “His goal in life is to meet you! It’s true! His whole goal in life! He wants to meet the president! He wants to be you! He would like to be you!”

Time stamp: 45 minutes

Mr. Parnas asked Mr. Trump, “Have you thought about allowing banking in some of these states that allow cannabis?”

Mr. Trump said, “What? You can’t do banking there?”

Mr. Parnas responded that “that’s the biggest problem” and later said “it’s a tremendous movement with a lot of the young people.”

“Do you think the whole marijuana thing is a good thing?” Mr. Trump asked the guests.

“No,” one woman responded.

Mr. Parnas said, “It’s something that is in the future, no matter how you look at it. I think it’s something that’s already so far out that you’re not going to stop it.”

Mr. Trump indicated he was not impressed with the results of legalization in Colorado.

“In Colorado, they have more accidents,” Mr. Trump said. “It does cause an I.Q. problem.”

Donald Trump Jr., one of Mr. Trump’s sons, said: “I will say this, between that and alcohol, as far as I’m concerned, alcohol does much more damage.”

“You don’t see people beating their wives on marijuana. It’s just different,” he said.

Mr. Parnas suggested that the president establish a bipartisan committee to study marijuana, “so you can know what’s going on, and make the right decision.”

“By just putting the committee together, it will give you such a boost in the midterm with a lot of the millennials,” Mr. Parnas said.

Time stamp: 54 minutes

Discussing one of his favorite topics, the 2016 election, Mr. Trump said he might have had a much more difficult time defeating Hillary Clinton if she had picked Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to be her running mate instead of Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

“If Bernie were Hillary’s vice president, it would have been tougher,” Mr. Trump said, “because all those people that hated her so much who voted for me.”

Mr. Trump added, “You know I got 20 percent of Bernie vote. People don’t realize that, because of trade, because he’s a big trade guy, you know he basically says we’re getting screwed on trade, and he’s right, and I’m worse than he is, and we can do something about it, I don’t know if he could have.”

“Had she picked Bernie Sanders, it would have been tougher,” Mr. Trump said. “He was the only one I didn’t want her to pick.”

Time stamp: 23 minutes

An unidentified guest said they shipped 125,000 tons of material for the wall at the border.

Mr. Trump then said he wanted a “concrete wall, 30 feet high, very slick outside.”

Another individual can be heard saying that border agents have said that could be dangerous.

“They actually said these drug dealers, it’s so dangerous to have a solid wall because they take the drugs, it weighs 100 pounds, approximately, you know a satchel, they call it a satchel, they throw it over the wall, it goes over the wall, and it will land on a guy’s head and it kills him,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump clarifies that “our border guys” are the victims.

“It can hit people,” Mr. Trump says. “Can you imagine, you get hit with a hundred pounds of drugs?”

Laughs can be heard.

“Only in America,” someone says.

Time stamp: 16 minutes

At another point, Mr. Trump, while indulging a familiar lament — that other countries are not trading fairly with the United States — unleashed a tirade against the European Union.

“The European Union is a group of countries that got together to screw the United States,” Mr. Trump told his guests. “It’s as simple as that.”

Mr. Trump continued: “And frankly, they’re probably worse than China in a sense, just smaller. They’re worse than China in the sense of barriers.”

“But the European Union is really bad,” he said. “You know it doesn’t sound like it. You know, the European Union, we’re all sort of from there, right? But the European Union is brutal. But we’re changing that rapidly, too. They can’t even believe it.”

Time stamp: 1 hour, 7 minutes

Barry Zekelman, a Canadian citizen who owns a Chicago-based steel-tube manufacturing company that donated $1.75 million to a political action committee supporting Mr. Trump, urged the president to further limit steel imports to the United States, which he has said undermine sales for his American business.

Mr. Zekelman then questioned rules intended to prevent fatal truck accidents by using electronic monitoring systems to limit how many hours drivers can be on the road. The rules, he said, were having an impact on Mr. Zekelman’s ability to move the steel pipe he manufactures.

“Say someone is half an hour from home on their long haul truck — they literally have to pull over on the side of the road and stop,” Mr. Zekelman said. “They can’t go home. They don’t even want to do it anymore.”

Mr. Zekelman said they cannot get enough drivers to haul his products.

Mr. Trump did not seem to be aware of the rules.

“They have a method that you shut down a truck?” Mr. Trump said.

Since the dinner, legislation has been introduced in the House with the cosponsorship of 12 Republicans to allow smaller trucking companies to get exemptions from the rule.

Mr. Zekelman is not legally allowed under federal law to make a contribution to the political action committee. His company donated the money through one of its United States based subsidiaries, a maneuver that has generated a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that he might have violated federal election law, after The New York Times wrote about the donations last year.

Kenneth P. Vogel and Eric Lipton contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-tape-facebookJumbo Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

WASHINGTON — For an hour one evening in 2018, President Trump sat around a table in a private room in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the center of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics — and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The conversation, captured on a recording made public Saturday, contradicted Mr. Trump’s repeated statements that he does not know the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who went on to work with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to carry out a pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The hourlong recording — a video shot on Mr. Fruman’s phone during the dinner in April 2018 — confirmed Mr. Parnas’s account of having raised with Mr. Trump criticisms of the ambassador to Kyiv at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, and the president’s immediate order that Ms. Yovanovitch should be removed from the post.

“Get rid of her,” Mr. Trump can be heard responding.

The recording was made public by Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, hours after the president’s lawyers began presenting their defense in the impeachment trial and as Democrats looked for leverage to persuade Republicans to support their calls to expand the inquiry by calling new witnesses.

Mr. Bondy said it was being released in “an effort to provide clarity to the American people and the Senate as to the need to conduct a fair trial, with witnesses and evidence.”

In the recording, Mr. Parnas, who is the more talkative of the two, broached an energy deal the two were pursuing in Ukraine, and then went on to discuss several themes that became central to the pressure campaign. He claimed that Ms. Yovanovitch had been disparaging Mr. Trump, that the Ukrainians “were supporting the Clintons all these years” and even mentions in passing the family of the former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The recording does not appear to introduce substantive new information about the effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

But it does seem to shed light on the origins of Mr. Trump’s interest in the issue, and to foreshadow his administration’s withholding of military assistance from the country as part of the pressure campaign. It hints at the motivations of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who had come to believe that Ms. Yovanovitch was opposed to their business plans in Ukraine, where they had tried to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born American citizens.

And it provides a glimpse of something rarely seen: top-tier political donors getting a chance in an intimate setting to share their views with the president and press their agendas with him.

Democrats are seeking Mr. Trump’s removal from office on the grounds that he abused his power pressing Ukraine to investigate targets of the president, including Mr. Biden and his family. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman worked closely with Mr. Giuliani in seeking information and making contacts in Ukraine in support of the effort.

For most of the recording, the camera is pointed at the ceiling. But in its early moments it shows Mr. Trump as he enters the private room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on April 30, 2018.

The existence, and some of the conversation in the recording, was first reported by ABC News on Friday.

In the full recording released on Saturday, Mr. Parnas can be heard telling Mr. Trump that he and Mr. Fruman “are in the process of purchasing an energy company in Ukraine right now.”

Mr. Trump responds “How’s Ukraine doing?” then quickly adds “don’t answer,” prompting laughter in the room.

After some conversation about Ukraine’s war with its hostile neighbor, Russia, and its efforts to establish energy security, Mr. Trump asked, “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?”

“I don’t think very long,” Mr. Parnas responded. “Without us, not very long.”

Mr. Parnas continued by saying that “the biggest problem is corruption there,” and later added Ms. Yovanovitch, though not by name, to a list of issues Mr. Trump should address in Ukraine.

“The biggest problem there, I think, where we, where you, need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador,” he said. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”

Mr. Trump asked for the ambassador’s name. Mr. Parnas said, “I don’t remember.” Mr. Trump then said: “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Those comments were directed at one of Mr. Trump’s aides who was in the room at the time, Mr. Parnas has previously said. There was some laughter in the room at his remarks.

Ms. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Mr. Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her.

At the beginning of the video, the person holding it walks around the private suite filming chatter between the guests, who include Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson and namesake of the legendary golfer, and Barry Zekelman, a Canadian billionaire whose business is mostly in the United States.

At one point, Mr. Fruman is warned by the voice of someone who appears to be an organizer “some people may not want their pictures taken. Just be aware of that.”

Later, Mr. Trump tells attendees, “This is all sort of, like, off the record, right?”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-tape-facebookJumbo Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

WASHINGTON — For an hour one evening in 2018, President Trump sat around a table in a private room in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the center of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics — and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The conversation, captured on a recording made public Saturday, contradicted Mr. Trump’s repeated statements that he does not know the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who went on to work with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to carry out a pressure campaign on Ukraine.

The hourlong recording — a video shot on Mr. Fruman’s phone during the dinner in April 2018 — confirmed Mr. Parnas’s account of having raised with Mr. Trump criticisms of the ambassador to Kyiv at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, and the president’s immediate order that Ms. Yovanovitch should be removed from the post.

“Get rid of her,” Mr. Trump can be heard responding.

The recording was made public by Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, hours after the president’s lawyers began presenting their defense in the impeachment trial and as Democrats looked for leverage to persuade Republicans to support their calls to expand the inquiry by calling new witnesses.

Mr. Bondy said it was being released in “an effort to provide clarity to the American people and the Senate as to the need to conduct a fair trial, with witnesses and evidence.”

In the recording, Mr. Parnas, who is the more talkative of the two, broached an energy deal the two were pursuing in Ukraine, and then went on to discuss several themes that became central to the pressure campaign. He claimed that Ms. Yovanovitch had been disparaging Mr. Trump, that the Ukrainians “were supporting the Clintons all these years” and even mentions in passing the family of the former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The recording does not appear to introduce substantive new information about the effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

But it does seem to shed light on the origins of Mr. Trump’s interest in the issue, and to foreshadow his administration’s withholding of military assistance from the country as part of the pressure campaign. It hints at the motivations of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, who had come to believe that Ms. Yovanovitch was opposed to their business plans in Ukraine, where they had tried to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born American citizens.

And it provides a glimpse of something rarely seen: top-tier political donors getting a chance in an intimate setting to share their views with the president and press their agendas with him.

Democrats are seeking Mr. Trump’s removal from office on the grounds that he abused his power pressing Ukraine to investigate targets of the president, including Mr. Biden and his family. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman worked closely with Mr. Giuliani in seeking information and making contacts in Ukraine in support of the effort.

For most of the recording, the camera is pointed at the ceiling. But in its early moments it shows Mr. Trump as he enters the private room at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on April 30, 2018.

The existence, and some of the conversation in the recording, was first reported by ABC News on Friday.

In the full recording released on Saturday, Mr. Parnas can be heard telling Mr. Trump that he and Mr. Fruman “are in the process of purchasing an energy company in Ukraine right now.”

Mr. Trump responds “How’s Ukraine doing?” then quickly adds “don’t answer,” prompting laughter in the room.

After some conversation about Ukraine’s war with its hostile neighbor, Russia, and its efforts to establish energy security, Mr. Trump asked, “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?”

“I don’t think very long,” Mr. Parnas responded. “Without us, not very long.”

Mr. Parnas continued by saying that “the biggest problem is corruption there,” and later added Ms. Yovanovitch, though not by name, to list of issues Mr. Trump should address in Ukraine.

“The biggest problem there, I think, where we, where you, need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador,” he said. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”

Mr. Trump asked for the ambassador’s name. Mr. Parnas said, “I don’t remember.” Mr. Trump then said: “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Those comments were directed at one of Mr. Trump’s aides who was in the room at the time, Mr. Parnas has previously said. There was some laughter in the room at his remarks.

Ms. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Mr. Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her.

At the beginning of the video, the person holding it walks around the private suite filming chatter between the guests, who include Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson and namesake of the legendary golfer, and Barry Zekelman, a Canadian billionaire whose business is mostly in the United States.

At one point, Mr. Fruman is warned by the voice of someone who appears to be an organizer “some people may not want their pictures taken. Just be aware of that.”

Later, Mr. Trump tells attendees, “This is all sort of, like, off the record, right?”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording of Trump Calling for Ambassador’s Firing

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-recording-facebookJumbo Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording of Trump Calling for Ambassador’s Firing Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Parnas, Lev impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor ABC News

WASHINGTON — A former associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, said on Friday that he had turned over to congressional Democrats a recording from 2018 of the president ordering the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The associate, Lev Parnas, who worked with Mr. Giuliani to oust the ambassador and to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations to help Mr. Trump, located the recording on Friday after its existence was first reported by ABC News, said Joseph A. Bondy, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer.

Mr. Bondy said the recording was “of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry” of Mr. Trump and that he had provided it to the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, is leading the impeachment managers in their presentation of the case.

The recording emerged as Democrats continued to press the Senate to call more witnesses and seek additional evidence for the trial.

While it does not appear to provide any substantive new information about the effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch, the possibility of the recording being played in public could provide a powerful political moment for Democrats by hammering home Mr. Trump’s personal involvement. It also illustrates that there could be more revelations from untapped evidence, even as Democrats are wrapping up their case in the Senate.

That was precisely the argument they made on Friday as they sought to overcome Republican resistance to seeking new information and extending the trial.

Patrick Boland, a spokesman for the Intelligence Committee, declined to comment.

In the recording, ABC News reported, Mr. Parnas can be heard saying that “the biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of” Ms. Yovanovitch.

“She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait,’” Mr. Parnas says on the recording, according to ABC News.

“Get rid of her!” a voice that sounds like Mr. Trump’s responds, according to ABC News. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Those comments were directed at one of Mr. Trump’s aides who was in the room at the time, Mr. Parnas has previously said.

Ms. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Mr. Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her.

Asked about the recording by Fox News, Mr. Trump said he was “not a big fan” of Ms. Yovanovitch. “I want ambassadors that are chosen by me,” he said. “I have a right to hire and fire ambassadors, and that’s a very important thing.”

The campaign to remove Ms. Yovanovitch is among the central elements of the Democratic case that Mr. Trump abused his power in an effort to pressure Ukraine’s government into announcing investigations into purported meddling in the 2016 election and into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his diplomacy in Ukraine.

Mr. Parnas had previously recounted how he and another associate of Mr. Giuliani’s, Igor Fruman, had met with Mr. Trump during a dinner for a small group of donors in a private suite at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in late April 2018. At that dinner, Mr. Parnas relayed a rumor that Ms. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador in Kyiv, was bad-mouthing the president — an unsubstantiated claim that Ms. Yovanovitch has denied.

Republicans have sought to challenge Mr. Parnas’s credibility by noting that he is under indictment. But the recording seemed to buttress his claims that he had discussions with Mr. Trump about ousting Ms. Yovanovitch, who Mr. Parnas and Mr. Giuliani later came to believe was blocking their efforts to press the Ukrainians to commit to the investigations.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had obtained direct access to the president by donating to Republican committees, and the recording suggests he spoke in front of them in a remarkably unfiltered and undiplomatic way, given their relative obscurity.

The April 2018 meeting came months before Mr. Giuliani began working with Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman to win support in Ukraine for investigations that could have helped Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects. Mr. Giuliani came to believe that Ms. Yovanovitch was blocking his efforts to advance the investigations. By early last year, Mr. Parnas had become a key intermediary between Mr. Giuliani and Ukrainian officials, including Yuriy Lutsenko, the country’s chief prosecutor at the time, who was also seeking Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he does not know Mr. Parnas or Mr. Fruman, who are facing federal campaign finance charges brought by prosecutors in Manhattan. They have pleaded not guilty. Mr. Giuliani is under investigation by the same prosecutors, who are examining his efforts to remove Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Parnas has broken with Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump. He has provided reams of records and data to House impeachment investigators and signaled his willingness to cooperate with the prosecutors in Manhattan. Mr. Fruman’s legal team is working closely with lawyers for Mr. Giuliani — “they talk two, three times a week” — according to Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.

The recording was captured on Mr. Fruman’s phone, according to people familiar with the matter.

A lawyer for Mr. Fruman declined to comment.

Mr. Parnas and his legal team did not provide the recording to ABC News, Mr. Bondy said.

After ABC News’s report, Mr. Bondy said Mr. Parnas “undertook a renewed search of his iCloud accounts and found a copy of the recording.”

The recording “appears to corroborate” Mr. Parnas’s recollection of the April 2018 gathering at which Mr. Trump issued the order, Mr. Bondy said.

In an interview with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow last week, Mr. Parnas said that Mr. Trump had tried to recall Ms. Yovanovitch “at least four, five times.” Mr. Parnas said he had personally spoken “once or twice” to the president “about firing her,” including at the dinner, which he said was also attended by Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.

“I don’t know how the issue is — the conversation came up, but I do remember me telling the president the ambassador was bad-mouthing him and saying he was going to get impeached, something to that effect,” Mr. Parnas recalled. “And at that time, he turned around” to an aide “and said, ‘fire her.’ And we all — there was a silence in the room.”

Mr. Parnas added that Mr. Trump raised the subject again: “I don’t know how many times at that dinner, once or twice or three times. But he fired her several times.”

Ms. Yovanovitch came into Mr. Parnas’s sights at least partly because he had come to believe that she was opposed to his business efforts in Ukraine, where he and Mr. Fruman had hoped to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born American citizens.

Prosecutors have accused Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman of donating money and pledging to raise additional funds in 2018 — some violating legal limits — for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

While the congressman is not named in court filings, campaign finance records identify him as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, who lost his re-election bid in 2018.

Less than two weeks after his dinner with Mr. Trump, Mr. Parnas met with Mr. Sessions to discuss his gas venture in Ukraine, and the meeting eventually turned to Ms. Yovanovitch. After the meeting, Mr. Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch should be fired for privately expressing “disdain” for the current administration.

Mr. Sessions has said that he wrote the letter independently of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, but when Ms. Yovanovitch was not removed, Mr. Sessions provided Mr. Parnas with a copy of the letter, signing his name across the back of the envelope. “Mr. President” appeared across the front.

Photographs appearing to show the signed envelope — and Mr. Parnas presenting it to Mr. Trump — were included in a batch of records provided earlier this month by Mr. Parnas to the House Intelligence Committee.

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Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording of Trump Calling for Ambassador’s Firing

Westlake Legal Group 24dc-recording-facebookJumbo Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording of Trump Calling for Ambassador’s Firing Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Parnas, Lev impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor ABC News

WASHINGTON — A former associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, said on Friday that he had turned over to congressional Democrats a recording from 2018 of the president ordering the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as the United States ambassador to Ukraine.

The associate, Lev Parnas, who worked with Mr. Giuliani to oust the ambassador and to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations to help Mr. Trump, located the recording on Friday after its existence was first reported by ABC News, said Joseph A. Bondy, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer.

Mr. Bondy said it was “of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry” of Mr. Trump, which House Democrats are presenting in the Senate. He said he provided the recording to the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, is leading the House impeachment managers in their presentation of the case.

The recording emerged as Democrats continued to press the Senate to call more witnesses and seek additional evidence for the trial.

While the recording does not appear to provide any substantive new information about the effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch, the possibility of it being played in public could provide a powerful political moment for Democrats by hammering home Mr. Trump’s personal involvement. It also illustrates that there could be more revelations from untapped evidence, even as Democrats are wrapping up their case in the Senate.

That was precisely the argument they made on Friday as they sought to overcome Republican resistance to seeking new information and extending the trial.

Patrick Boland, a spokesman for the Intelligence Committee, declined to comment.

In the recording, ABC News reported, Mr. Parnas can be heard saying that “the biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of” Ms. Yovanovitch.

“She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait,’” Mr. Parnas says on the recording, according to ABC News.

“Get rid of her!” a voice that sounds like Mr. Trump’s responds, according to ABC News. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”

Mr. Trump’s comments were directed at one of his aides who was in the room at the time, Mr. Parnas has previously said.

Ms. Yovanovitch remained in her job for another year after Mr. Trump’s remarks until she was recalled on the White House’s orders, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry. It is not clear whether the president changed his mind, forgot about his order or was talked out of dismissing her.

Asked about the recording by Fox News, Mr. Trump said he was “not a big fan” of Ms. Yovanovitch. “I want ambassadors that are chosen by me,” he said. “I have a right to hire and fire ambassadors, and that’s a very important thing.”

The campaign to remove Ms. Yovanovitch is among the central elements of the Democratic case that Mr. Trump abused his power in an effort to pressure Ukraine’s government into announcing investigations into purported meddling in the 2016 election and into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his diplomacy in Ukraine.

Mr. Parnas had previously recounted how he and another associate of Mr. Giuliani’s, Igor Fruman, had met with Mr. Trump during a dinner for a small group of donors in a private suite at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in late April 2018. At that dinner, Mr. Parnas relayed a rumor that Ms. Yovanovitch, then the American ambassador in Kyiv, was bad-mouthing the president — an unsubstantiated claim that Ms. Yovanovitch has denied.

Republicans have sought to challenge Mr. Parnas’s credibility by noting that he is under indictment. But the recording seemed to buttress Mr. Parnas’s claims that he had discussions with Mr. Trump about ousting Ms. Yovanovitch, who Mr. Parnas and Mr. Giuliani later came to believe was blocking their efforts to press the Ukrainians to commit to the investigations.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had obtained direct access to the president by donating to Republican committees, and the recording suggests he spoke in front of them in a remarkably unfiltered and undiplomatic way, given their relative obscurity.

The April 2018 meeting came months before Mr. Giuliani began working with Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman to win support in Ukraine for investigations that could have helped Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects. Mr. Giuliani came to believe that Ms. Yovanovitch was blocking his efforts to advance the investigations. By early last year, Mr. Parnas had become a key intermediary between Mr. Giuliani and Ukranians officials, including Yuriy Lutsenko, the country’s chief prosecutor at the time, who was also seeking Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he does not know Mr. Parnas or Mr. Fruman, who are facing federal campaign finance charges brought by prosecutors in Manhattan. They have pleaded not guilty. Mr. Giuliani is under investigation by the same prosecutors, who are examining his efforts to remove Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Parnas has broken with Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump. He has provided reams of records and data to House impeachment investigators and signaled his willingness to cooperate with the prosecutors in Manhattan. Mr. Fruman’s legal team is working closely with lawyers for Mr. Giuliani — “they talk two, three times a week” — according to Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor.

The recording was captured on Mr. Fruman’s phone, according to people familiar with the matter.

A lawyer for Mr. Fruman declined to comment.

Mr. Parnas and his legal team did not provide the recording to ABC News, Mr. Bondy said.

After ABC News’s report, Mr. Bondy said Mr. Parnas “undertook a renewed search of his iCloud accounts and found a copy of the recording.”

The recording “appears to corroborate” Mr. Parnas’s recollection of the April 2018 gathering at which Mr. Trump issued the order, Mr. Bondy said.

In an interview with the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow last week, Mr. Parnas said that Mr. Trump had tried to recall Ms. Yovanovitch “at least four, five times.” Mr. Parnas said he had personally spoken “once or twice” to the president “about firing her,” including at the dinner, which he said was also attended by Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr.

“I don’t know how the issue is — the conversation came up, but I do remember me telling the president the ambassador was bad-mouthing him and saying he was going to get impeached, something to that effect,” Mr. Parnas recalled. “And at that time, he turned around” to an aide “and said, ‘fire her.’ And we all — there was a silence in the room.”

Mr. Parnas added that Mr. Trump raised the subject again later in the dinner: “I don’t know how many times at that dinner, once or twice or three times. But he fired her several times.”

Ms. Yovanovitch came into Mr. Parnas’s sights at least partly because he had come to believe that she was opposed to his business efforts in Ukraine, where he and Mr. Fruman had hoped to break into the natural gas market, according to associates of the two men, both of whom are Soviet-born American citizens.

Prosecutors have accused Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman of donating money and pledging to raise additional funds in 2018 — some violating legal limits — for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust Ms. Yovanovitch.

While the congressman is not named in court filings, campaign finance records identify him as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, who lost his re-election bid in 2018.

Less than two weeks after his dinner with Mr. Trump, Mr. Parnas met with Mr. Sessions to discuss his gas venture in Ukraine, and the meeting eventually turned to Ms. Yovanovitch. After the meeting, Mr. Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch should be fired for privately expressing “disdain” for the current administration.

Mr. Sessions has said that he wrote the letter independently of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, but when Ms. Yovanovitch was not removed, Mr. Sessions provided Mr. Parnas with a copy of the letter, signing his name across the back of the envelope. “Mr. President” appeared across the front.

Photographs appearing to show the signed envelope — and Mr. Parnas presenting it to Mr. Trump — were included in a batch of records provided earlier this month by Mr. Parnas to the House Intelligence Committee.

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Lev Parnas, Key Player in Ukraine Affair, Completes Break With Trump and Giuliani

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166609758_87322c82-08ee-4f02-827d-a568d50bd233-facebookJumbo Lev Parnas, Key Player in Ukraine Affair, Completes Break With Trump and Giuliani Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Jr Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican National Committee Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev One America Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor America First Action

WASHINGTON — Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who played a central role in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of President Trump, completed his break with the White House on Wednesday, asserting for the first time in public that the president was fully aware of the efforts to dig up damaging information on his behalf.

In an interview with The New York Times on the day the House transmitted articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump to the Senate, Mr. Parnas also expressed regret for having trusted Mr. Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and the architect of the Ukraine pressure campaign. His lawyer said he was eager to cooperate with federal prosecutors investigating Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Parnas made his remarks as House impeachment investigators released more material he had turned over to them. The material, including text messages, photos and calendar entries, underscored how deeply Mr. Parnas and others were involved in carrying out the pressure campaign and how new information continues to surface even as the Senate prepares to begin Mr. Trump’s trial next week. And it provided additional evidence that the effort to win political advantage for Mr. Trump was widely known among his allies, showing that Mr. Parnas communicated regularly with two top Republican fund-raisers about what he was up to.

Text messages and call logs show that Mr. Parnas was in contact with Tom Hicks Jr., a donor and Trump family friend, and Joseph Ahearn, who raised money for pro-Trump political groups, about developments in the Ukraine pressure campaign.

In the text messages, Mr. Parnas kept Mr. Hicks and Mr. Ahearn apprised of efforts to disseminate damaging information about targets of Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani, including the United States ambassador to Kyiv, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukrainians who spread information about Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman.

The records seem to expand the circle of people around Mr. Trump who were aware in real time of the pressure campaign. The campaign led to Mr. Trump’s impeachment in the House last month and a Senate trial that will start next week just as the 2020 presidential campaign is moving into high gear.

In the interview with The Times, Mr. Parnas said that although he did not speak with Mr. Trump directly about the efforts, he met with the president on several occasions and was told by Mr. Giuliani that Mr. Trump was kept in the loop. Mr. Parnas pointed in particular to text messages, released by the House this week, in which Mr. Giuliani refers to an effort to obtain a visa for a former Ukrainian official who leveled corruption allegations against Mr. Biden.

In the messages, Mr. Giuliani boasted of the effort to secure the visa: “It’s going to work I have no 1 in it.” Mr. Parnas said the reference to No. 1 was to Mr. Trump.

“I am betting my whole life that Trump knew exactly everything that was going on that Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine,” Mr. Parnas said.

Mr. Parnas, an American citizen who was arrested in October on largely unrelated federal criminal charges, expressed remorse for his role in helping the Ukrainian pressure campaign, but pinned blame on the president and Mr. Giuliani.

“My biggest regret is trusting so much,” he said. “I thought I was being a patriot and helping the president,” he said, adding that he “thought by listening to the president and his attorney that I couldn’t possibly get in trouble or do anything wrong.”

Now that he faces criminal charges in the Southern District of New York, Mr. Parnas, who has pleaded not guilty, is looking to cooperate with prosecutors in his case, who are conducting a broader investigation into Mr. Giuliani and his dealings in Ukraine.

“We very much want to be heard in the Southern District,” Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, said in the interview with The Times. “We very much want to provide substantial assistance to the government.”

Taken together, the comments on Wednesday capped a stunning turnabout for a man who was a Trump donor and once considered himself a close friend of Mr. Giuliani, who is a godfather to his son.

Mr. Giuliani said in a text message on Wednesday that it was “sad to watch how the Trump haters are using” Mr. Parnas. He attributed Mr. Parnas’s willingness to share documents with congressional Democrats to a desire for “attention.”

He called Mr. Parnas “a proven liar,” and suggested he was undermining his credibility as a potential witness. “Let him run himself out then I’ll respond if necessary,” Mr. Giuliani said.

During the interview with The Times, as well as in a taped interview Mr. Parnas gave on Wednesday to the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Mr. Parnas emphasized that he was always acting on behalf of Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani.

When asked by The Times how he knew that Mr. Trump was aware of the pressure campaign, he said that Mr. Giuliani assured him that was the case.

Before taking his first trip to Ukraine in February 2019, Mr. Parnas said that he met with Mr. Giuliani at the Grand Havana Room, a smoke-filled private club high above Midtown Manhattan, and relayed a concern that he and an associate, Igor Fruman, lacked the diplomatic credentials to carry out their task. Mr. Parnas said he proposed that the president designate them “special envoys” to ensure their safety and access.

Then, Mr. Parnas said, Mr. Giuliani walked away to call Mr. Trump, and returned with a new plan: He would represent Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, as well as the president, a move that might afford their shared mission the confidentiality of attorney-client privilege. Mr. Giuliani has denied Mr. Parnas’s account.

Days later, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman embarked for Eastern Europe.

Upon his return, Mr. Parnas began working with influential conservatives to disseminate the information and claims he helped collect from Ukraine. The materials released Wednesday also show him maintaining regular communication with Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor at the time, who was advocating the removal of the United States ambassador in Kyiv and was promising help in getting information about Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

By late March, as the claims began to circulate widely in the pro-Trump conservative news media, Mr. Parnas texted an associate, “I’m officially part of team trump,” according to the records released Wednesday.

In addition to the text messages, Mr. Parnas, who was indicted in October on campaign finance charges, provided Democrats in the House with voice mail messages left on his phone by Mr. Giuliani and another lawyer who worked on the Ukraine effort, emails, calendar entries and a bevy of photographs of Mr. Parnas with Trump allies.

In one photograph, which appears to be from May 2018, Mr. Parnas poses at a restaurant table with Mr. Fruman, who was also charged in the campaign finance case, as well as Mr. Hicks and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

That same month, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman donated $325,000 in the name of a newly-created energy company, Global Energy Producers, to a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, with which Mr. Hicks and Mr. Ahearn were affiliated.

In February, Mr. Hicks sent Mr. Parnas a video of a segment on the conservative television channel One America News Network that criticized a Ukrainian lawmaker who disseminated information about cash payments earmarked for Mr. Manafort by a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party.

“Show Rudy,” Mr. Hicks wrote.

“On it now,” Mr. Parnas responded.

Mr. Hicks, who is friendly with Donald Trump Jr., later suggested that Mr. Parnas share “what we know at right time” with the editor and owner of the conservative Daily Caller website, whom he called “a friend. I trust him 100%.”

The next month, after the publication of a series of articles critical of the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, on which Mr. Parnas and Mr. Giuliani had worked with a conservative journalist, Mr. Parnas shared a tweet on a related subject by the Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“You should retweet it,” Mr. Parnas wrote.

Mr. Hicks responded “I should probably keep my hands clean on that!”

That day, Mr. Ahearn texted Mr. Parnas asking “What should I send Don to tweet,” an apparent reference to Donald Trump Jr.

Mr. Parnas responded with links to tweets highlighting the articles about Ms. Yovanovitch, and a Ukrainian official who released the documents about the payments earmarked for Mr. Manafort. “Have jr retweet it,” Mr. Parnas wrote.

“Sent,” Mr. Ahearn responded.

It is unclear if Mr. Ahearn passed along the request to Donald Trump Jr., though Mr. Trump did retweet a Republican strategist criticizing Ms. Yovanovitch.

And a few days later, Mr. Parnas texted Mr. Ahearn another article about calls to remove Ms. Yovanovitch, which Mr. Trump posted on Twitter, commenting that the United States needs “less of these jokers as ambassadors.”

Mr. Parnas then sent an image of Mr. Trump’s tweet to Mr. Ahearn.

Mr. Trump ordered Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall in late April amid mounting calls for him to do so from conservative figures.

Peter Chavkin, a lawyer for Mr. Ahearn, said, “Nothing in the communications seems out of the ordinary or sparks any concern.”

Mr. Hicks, who was the chairman of America First Action before stepping aside to become a co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for America First declined to comment. The organization has provided documents to prosecutors investigating the campaign finance charges against Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. And two people who have helped raise money for America First Action were subpoenaed by the prosecutors last year.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Ben Protess from New York. William K. Rashbaum and Michael Rothfeld contributed reporting from New York.

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New Details Emerge on Shadow Campaign to Oust Ambassador to Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group 14parnas-facebookJumbo New Details Emerge on Shadow Campaign to Oust Ambassador to Ukraine United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Politics and Government Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

In April 2019, Rudolph W. Giuliani believed he was on the cusp of achieving an important goal: ousting the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. As Ms. Yovanovitch’s standing with the White House grew more precarious, Mr. Giuliani texted an associate.

“He fired her again,” Mr. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, told the associate, Lev Parnas.

Mr. Parnas responded in kind.

“I pray it happens this time I’ll call you tomorrow my brother,” he wrote.

The exchange was included in an array of documents released by House Democrats on Tuesday that offered new details on the shadow diplomacy campaign at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment and highlighted the effort to remove Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Parnas, who is facing federal charges in Manhattan, recently turned the documents over to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its impeachment inquiry.

One of the new documents shows Mr. Giuliani saying that he had Mr. Trump’s blessing to seek a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president-elect, last spring, potential new evidence on the eve of the president’s impeachment trial.

Mr. Giuliani has previously said he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction in his dealings with Ukrainian officials, but the letter released on Tuesday is the first public document that says he was doing so.

“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,” Mr. Giuliani wrote in the letter to Mr. Zelensky, who was sworn in as president soon after.

Mr. Giuliani shared a copy of the letter with Mr. Parnas, who then texted it to a close aide to Mr. Zelensky.

Many of the documents released on Tuesday highlight the effort by Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Parnas and a Ukrainian prosecutor to have Ms. Yovanovitch removed.

Mr. Giuliani had been critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, whom he and other Republicans have said opposed Mr. Trump. She also butted heads with the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, over the nature of his investigations.

In March, Mr. Lutsenko messaged Mr. Parnas in Russian on the WhatsApp messaging service to say that he was making progress in getting information about Mr. Trump’s rivals, according to a translation provided by impeachment investigators.

Mr. Lutsenko added: “And here you can’t even get rid of one [female] fool,” an apparent reference to Ms. Yovanovitch. He also inserted a frowning emoji.

“She’s not a simple fool[,] trust me,” Mr. Parnas responded. “But she’s not getting away.”

Mr. Trump ultimately recalled Ms. Yovanovitch from her post in late April.

In a separate series of cryptic text messages, Mr. Parnas communicated with another man who appeared to be monitoring the movements of Ms. Yovanovitch. The texts, exchanged in March on WhatsApp, indicated that the second man, Robert F. Hyde, was in touch with people in Ukraine who were watching Ms. Yovanovitch.

“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” one message from Mr. Hyde to Mr. Parnas read.

It was not clear who was watching the ambassador or why.

In a brief interview conducted via text on Tuesday, Mr. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate in Connecticut, denied that he had tracked Ms. Yovanovitch’s movements in Kyiv, and called Representative Adam B. Schiff, the intelligence committee chairman, a “commie.”

Mr. Giuliani said on Tuesday that he had no knowledge of potential surveillance of Ms. Yovanovitch.

A lawyer for Mr. Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, said that the text messages indicated that his client did not take part in any possible surveillance.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Parnas participated, agreed, paid money or took any other steps in furtherance of Mr. Hyde’s proposals,” Mr. Bondy said in a statement.

In a separate interview, Mr. Bondy said that he and Mr. Parnas were “very gratified that these materials” had become public, adding that “we remain committed to providing sworn testimony to Congress as it deems necessary.”

The House is set to vote on Wednesday to send its impeachment charges against Mr. Trump to the Senate, and a trial could begin in the coming days.

Mr. Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman based in Florida who was indicted in October on campaign finance charges, did not testify during the impeachment hearings last year. Mr. Bondy turned over the records to the House in response to a subpoena, after receiving permission to do so from the judge overseeing Mr. Parnas’s criminal case.

Federal prosecutors also charged Mr. Parnas’s associate, Igor Fruman, another Soviet-born businessman who worked alongside Mr. Parnas to assist Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine. Two other men were also charged in the case.

Mr. Giuliani’s effort in Ukraine hinged on convincing officials there to open investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump politically. One potential investigation would center on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter; the other would involve claims that Ukraine, and not Russia, stole Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.

After their arrests, Mr. Fruman remained close to Mr. Giuliani, but Mr. Parnas split from him, vowing to speak out about the Ukrainian pressure campaign. His lawyer, Mr. Bondy, has since created a #LetLevSpeak hashtag on Twitter.

Kenneth P. Vogel and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting. Jack Begg and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

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New Details Emerge on Shadow Campaign to Oust Ambassador to Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group 14parnas-facebookJumbo New Details Emerge on Shadow Campaign to Oust Ambassador to Ukraine United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Politics and Government Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

In April 2019, Rudolph W. Giuliani believed he was on the cusp of achieving an important goal: ousting the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. As Ms. Yovanovitch’s standing with the White House grew more precarious, Mr. Giuliani texted an associate.

“He fired her again,” Mr. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, told the associate, Lev Parnas.

Mr. Parnas responded in kind.

“I pray it happens this time I’ll call you tomorrow my brother,” he wrote.

The exchange was included in an array of documents released by House Democrats on Tuesday that offered new details on the shadow diplomacy campaign at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment and highlighted the effort to remove Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Parnas, who is facing federal charges in Manhattan, recently turned the documents over to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its impeachment inquiry.

One of the new documents shows Mr. Giuliani saying that he had Mr. Trump’s blessing to seek a meeting with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president-elect, last spring, potential new evidence on the eve of the president’s impeachment trial.

Mr. Giuliani has previously said he was acting at Mr. Trump’s direction in his dealings with Ukrainian officials, but the letter released on Tuesday is the first public document that says he was doing so.

“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,” Mr. Giuliani wrote in the letter to Mr. Zelensky, who was sworn in as president soon after.

Mr. Giuliani shared a copy of the letter with Mr. Parnas, who then texted it to a close aide to Mr. Zelensky.

Many of the documents released on Tuesday highlight the effort by Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Parnas and a Ukrainian prosecutor to have Ms. Yovanovitch removed.

Mr. Giuliani had been critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, whom he and other Republicans have said opposed Mr. Trump. She also butted heads with the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, over the nature of his investigations.

In March, Mr. Lutsenko messaged Mr. Parnas in Russian on the WhatsApp messaging service to say that he was making progress in getting information about Mr. Trump’s rivals, according to a translation provided by impeachment investigators.

Mr. Lutsenko added: “And here you can’t even get rid of one [female] fool,” an apparent reference to Ms. Yovanovitch. He also inserted a frowning emoji.

“She’s not a simple fool[,] trust me,” Mr. Parnas responded. “But she’s not getting away.”

Mr. Trump ultimately recalled Ms. Yovanovitch from her post in late April.

In a separate series of cryptic text messages, Mr. Parnas communicated with another man who appeared to be monitoring the movements of Ms. Yovanovitch. The texts, exchanged in March on WhatsApp, indicated that the second man, Robert F. Hyde, was in touch with people in Ukraine who were watching Ms. Yovanovitch.

“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” one message from Mr. Hyde to Mr. Parnas read.

It was not clear who was watching the ambassador or why.

In a brief interview conducted via text on Tuesday, Mr. Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate in Connecticut, denied that he had tracked Ms. Yovanovitch’s movements in Kyiv, and called Representative Adam B. Schiff, the intelligence committee chairman, a “commie.”

Mr. Giuliani said on Tuesday that he had no knowledge of potential surveillance of Ms. Yovanovitch.

A lawyer for Mr. Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, said that the text messages indicated that his client did not take part in any possible surveillance.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Parnas participated, agreed, paid money or took any other steps in furtherance of Mr. Hyde’s proposals,” Mr. Bondy said in a statement.

In a separate interview, Mr. Bondy said that he and Mr. Parnas were “very gratified that these materials” had become public, adding that “we remain committed to providing sworn testimony to Congress as it deems necessary.”

The House is set to vote on Wednesday to send its impeachment charges against Mr. Trump to the Senate, and a trial could begin in the coming days.

Mr. Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman based in Florida who was indicted in October on campaign finance charges, did not testify during the impeachment hearings last year. Mr. Bondy turned over the records to the House in response to a subpoena, after receiving permission to do so from the judge overseeing Mr. Parnas’s criminal case.

Federal prosecutors also charged Mr. Parnas’s associate, Igor Fruman, another Soviet-born businessman who worked alongside Mr. Parnas to assist Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine. Two other men were also charged in the case.

Mr. Giuliani’s effort in Ukraine hinged on convincing officials there to open investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump politically. One potential investigation would center on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter; the other would involve claims that Ukraine, and not Russia, stole Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.

After their arrests, Mr. Fruman remained close to Mr. Giuliani, but Mr. Parnas split from him, vowing to speak out about the Ukrainian pressure campaign. His lawyer, Mr. Bondy, has since created a #LetLevSpeak hashtag on Twitter.

Kenneth P. Vogel and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting. Jack Begg and Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

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Ukrainian Ambassador Was Under Surveillance, Documents Suggest

Westlake Legal Group 14parnas-facebookJumbo Ukrainian Ambassador Was Under Surveillance, Documents Suggest United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Politics and Government Parnas, Lev impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

New documents released by House Democrats on Tuesday offered fresh detail on the shadow diplomacy campaign at the center of President Trump’s impeachment, including text messages suggesting that the former United States ambassador to Ukraine was under surveillance while in Kyiv.

In a series of cryptic text messages, Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, communicated with another man who appeared to be monitoring the movements of the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch. The texts, exchanged in March on the WhatsApp messaging service, indicated that the other man, Robert F. Hyde, was in touch with people in Ukraine who were watching Ms. Yovanovitch.

“They are willing to help if we/you would like a price,” one message from Mr. Hyde to Mr. Parnas read.

It was not clear who was watching the ambassador or why. Lawyers for Mr. Parnas and Ms. Yovanovitch did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Giuliani had been critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, whom he and other Republicans have said was opposed to the president. She also butted heads with a Ukrainian prosecutor over the nature of his investigations. Ultimately, Mr. Trump recalled Ms. Yovanovitch from her post in late April.

The documents were part of a number of items that Mr. Parnas recently had turned over to the House Intelligence Committee as part of its impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Parnas, a Soviet-born businessman based in Florida who is facing federal criminal charges in Manhattan, did not testify during the impeachment hearings last year. His lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, recently turned over the records to the House, in response to a subpoena, after receiving permission to do so from the judge overseeing the criminal case.

The House is set to vote on Wednesday to send its impeachment charges against Mr. Trump to the Senate, and a trial could begin in the coming days.

In October, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed campaign finance-related charges against Mr. Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, another Soviet-born businessman who worked alongside Mr. Parnas to assist Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine. Two other men were also charged in the case.

The effort in Ukraine hinged on convincing officials there to open investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump politically. One potential investigation would center on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden; the other would involve claims that Ukraine — and not Russia — stole Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.

After their arrests, Mr. Fruman remained close to Mr. Giuliani, but Mr. Parnas split from their alliance, vowing to speak out about the Ukrainian pressure campaign. His lawyer, Mr. Bondy, has since created a #LetLevSpeak hashtag on Twitter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com