Trump wants the world to believe he doesn’t know Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born Giuliani associate at the center of the Ukraine scandal.
However, the whole world knows Lev Parnas now after he implicated Trump, Pence, and many high-ranking officials in an apparent quid pro quo with the Ukrainian president.
Last week, Trump insisted he doesn’t know Parnas:
“I don’t know him,” the president said just last week when asked about Parnas. “I don’t know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people, including people today that I didn’t meet. But I just met him. I don’t know him at all. Don’t know what he’s about, don’t know where he comes from, know nothing about him. I can only tell you this thing is a big hoax.”
However, now ABS news has reported that a recording appears to show Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, speaking to the Trump about Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch at an “intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.”
The report reveals that the recording was made by Fruman, “according to sources familiar with the tape.”
The story says this recording of Trump & Lev Parnas (who he’s repeatedly said he doesn’t know) talking about taking out Yovanovitch was made by Igor Fruman. Unless it was somehow in Parnas’ cache of materials, this could imply Fruman is also cooperating. https://t.co/S0aBxCyrxx
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) January 24, 2020
Trump appeared to use terms that many would consider threatening.
“Get rid of her!” is what the voice that appears to be President Trump’s is heard saying. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”
At another point, Parnas incorrectly tells Trump that Yovanovitch is a holdover from the Clinton presidency. In fact, she was appointed during the Reagan years.
“‘ The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She’s still leftover from the Clinton administration,’ Parnas can be heard telling Trump. ‘She’s basically walking around telling everybody’ Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’ (Yovanovitch actually had served in the State Department since the Reagan administration.)”
The recording is just one of a larger body of new evidence after a judge in Parnas’ ongoing criminal case granted permission for his attorney to share records with the House impeachment investigators as part of a subpoena.
Phone records from Parnas also linked him to Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, according to CBS News. Phone records showed numerous calls between Parnas and a Nunes aid.
Although Republicans may dismiss the recording of Trump’s comments as another of his crude “jokes,” emails show that Parnas may have had the Ambassador to Ukraine “under physical surveillance in Kyiv.” Concerns for her security at one point prompted State Department officials to phone her, according to her testimony before the House in Trump’s impeachment.
Another man Trump claimed not to know
You may recall that Trump has distanced himself from another notorious person with Russian connections. Two years ago, Trump denied knowing Felix Sater, an ex-Long Islander, which the BBC called a“Russian-American Gangster.”
“If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like,” Trump said in a deposition.
Sater, an FBI informant with links to the mob, according to the Post, was pursuing plans with Trump to build a Trump Tower Moscow in 2016. Sater believed the project would further Trump’s presidential ambitions.
Talking to Trump’s fixer, who is now in jail, Michael Cohen, Sater said:
“Buddy, our boy can become president of the USA, and we can engineer it,” Sater emailed Cohen on Nov. 3, 2015, the report said.”
“I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage the process. … Michael, Putin gets on stage with Donald for a ribbon cutting for Trump Moscow, and Donald owns the Republican nomination,” Sater said. “And possibly beats Hillary and our boy is in. … We will manage this process better than anyone. You and I and Donald and Vladimir on a stage together very shortly. That (is) the game changer.”
Although Trump denied knowing him, the Mueller report mentioned Sater 104 times.
“In his written statement to Mueller, Trump downplayed the prospects of getting the Moscow tower built: “I do not recall being aware at the time of any communications between Mr. Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government official regarding the letter of intent,” reported Newsday.
In a recent column, Max Boot details other shady characters surrounding Trump in a piece entitled, “The company Trump keeps tells you everything you need to know.”
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