One of the Ukrainian American associates of Rudy Giuliani who is believed to have played a key role in brokering the deal to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son is now cooperating with the congressional impeachment inquiry. Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born American citizen who was arrested last month on campaign finance charges for allegedly funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign donors into Trump’s political action committee, had initially hired former Trump lawyer John Dowd and refused to cooperate with congressional investigators. Dowd previously represented Trump during a portion of the Mueller investigation.
Parnas, however, has since changed lawyers and indicated he will cooperate by complying with subpoenas for his testimony and documents. Trump has tried to distance himself from Parnas and fellow Giuliani associate Igor Fruman, who also helped facilitate the fulfillment of the White House’s demand that Ukraine investigate Biden. “I don’t know them. I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do,” Trump said. “Maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy.” Parnas’ lawyer said Trump’s statement was “plainly false.”
The New York Times reports that when Parnas hired John Dowd, Dowd sought approval from the president, who, in a letter from another Trump lawyer, Jay Sekulow, said he “consents to allowing your representation of Mr. Parnas and Mr. [Fruman].” The men’s selection of Dowd as legal representation was an indication that they would stick with the White House in its efforts to stonewall investigators on the matter, but following Trump’s disavowal, that legal strategy appears to have changed. One would assume Parnas began to wonder whether his lawyer was acting in his best interest or the president’s.
“While it is not clear what documents or testimony Mr. Parnas might provide, he was intimately involved with Mr. Giuliani’s efforts,” the New York Times reports. “Along with Mr. Fruman, he traveled repeatedly to Ukraine in search of information about corruption involving the Bidens and pushed for the ouster of the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani saw as hostile to the president.”