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Lev Parnas Destroys Republican Lies

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There was a request yesterday for a thread on Lev Parnas’s testimony. Heather Cox Richardson has a good summary:

While Bobulinski and Galanis continued to insist, without evidence, that Biden is corrupt, the eye-popping testimony today came from the witness called by the Democrats: Lev Parnas. 

Parnas is a Ukrainian-born former associate of one-time Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He was deeply involved in the attempt to smear Hunter Biden before the 2020 presidential election. This attempt included then-president Trump’s 2019 phone call to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to force him to announce he was opening an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company on whose board Hunter Biden sat. Trump suggested he would not release the money Congress had appropriated to enable Ukraine to resist Russian incursions into Crimea until Zelensky agreed to such an announcement. 

That call eventually led to Trump’s first impeachment, in December 2019. 

During that impeachment and ever since, Parnas said, “I have never wavered from saying that there was no evidence of the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine—because there truly was none. On the contrary, by setting up a search for false criminality, every individual majorly involved in this plan was disguising their own criminal activity. That persists to this very day: The impeachment proceedings that bring us here now are predicated on a bunch of false information that is being spread by the Kremlin.”

Parnas said, “My mission for Giuliani and Trump would come to encompass nearly a year of traveling across the globe to find damaging information on the Bidens. This included trips to Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Vienna, London, and other locations…. In my travels, I found precisely zero proof of the Bidens’ criminality.”

What he did find, Parnas said, was that “the Kremlin was forcing [disinformation] through Russian, Ukrainian, American, and other channels to interfere in our elections. Ultimately this was meant to benefit Trump’s re-election, which would in turn benefit Vladimir Putin.”

Every person pushing “the Biden corruption rumors” knew they were “baseless,” Parnas said. And then he named names: “Then-Congressman Devin Nunes [R-CA, who at the time chaired the House Intelligence Committee], Senator Ron Johnson [R-WI], then chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee], and many other individuals understood that they were pushing a false narrative. The same goes for John Solomon [of The Hill], Sean Hannity, and media personnel, particularly at FOX News, who used that narrative to manipulate the public ahead of the 2020 election. They are still doing this today, as we approach the 2024 election.” 

In 2022, Parnas was convicted of wire fraud, false statements, and breaking campaign finance laws by funneling money illegally to Trump and other Republican lawmakers (including then–California representative Kevin McCarthy, as longtime members of this community will remember). 

In his testimony, Parnas noted: “When I was arrested, my original indictment linked me to an individual referred to as unindicted co-conspirator 1. We now know this individual to be Congressman Pete Sessions [R-TX], who sits on this very committee today.” Parnas also called out Trump’s attorney general Bill Barr, who he says knew about the attempt to smear the Bidens from the day he took office, and said that Trump personally encouraged Giuliani to interfere in Ukrainian politics.

Parnas did Rudy Giuliani’s footwork. He delivered the messages and collected the money. He knows who was involved. He was also involved for some time and thus knows how things developed. A close look at his involvement would probably require a book, but it would be a worthwhile investigation.

The Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee have good questions and are willing to pin down the witnesses. They have done their homework. I suspect that they have coordinated as a tag team, with the various members taking responsibility for various parts of the testimony. Particularly notable are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jasmine Crockett, Dan Goldman, and Jamie Raskin.

After we win the November election, some of these members should be groomed for the Senate and perhaps the Presidency or Vice Presidency.

Update: There’s quite a bit in this New York Times article from January 2020.

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