The troubles of Donald Trump continue to multiply like little spray-tanned rabbits. The articles of impeachment were officially signed by Speaker Pelosi and sent to the Senate yesterday, and that’s not even the worst of the president’s problems right now.
Lev Parnas, an indicted crony of Rudy Giuliani who was sent to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, made an appearance on Rachel Maddow’s show last night and promptly shredded some of the president’s more important claims. The interview came in the wake of Parnas’s delivery of documents to Congress as part of the impeachment proceedings. Included in the trove were text messages that seemed to implicate him in the possible surveillance of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. While Parnas denied that he was engaged in such an operation, he also refuted Trump’s claims that the two men are unacquainted.
“I don’t know those gentlemen,” President Trump previously stated about Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman, before conceding that he may have taken a photo of them at some point because he takes photos with lots of peoples. CNN managed to find ten interactions between Trump and Parnas and numerous photographs of them together have emerged. Clearly, Trump was playing loose and fast with the truth.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” claimed Parnas to Maddow. When she pushed him on the issue, Parnas flat out said that Trump “lied.”
Unfortunately for Trump, Parnas isn’t done yet and has now promised to release a new picture of him with Trump every time the president denies knowing him. During an interview on CNN’s New Day, he told Anderson Cooper that he “loved” Trump, had a “shrine” to the president and was his friend.
Parnas appeared somewhat emotional during the conversation and it appears that Trump’s betrayal and disavowal struck a deep chord with him. At the same time, Trump’s denial was somewhat of a relief because it meant Parnas couldn’t simply be swept under the rug.
“I thought they were going to shut me up, make me look like the scapegoat, and try to blame me for stuff that I wasn’t done. But with God’s help and a great legal team that I have beside me, we were able to get the information out and now it’s out there. So, I welcome him to say that even more. Every time he says that I’ll show him another picture,” said Parnas.
“He’s lying?” asked Cooper.
“He’s lying,” confirmed Parnas.
"He's lying." Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani's associate who stands at the center of the impeachment inquiry, says about President Trump's claim that that they have never met.https://t.co/qLwZHVZuBB pic.twitter.com/cI0DCQUK3N
— New Day (@NewDay) January 16, 2020
Apparently, President Trump either missed Parnas’s threat, doesn’t believe him, or is convinced that his own followers are so fanatical that they’ll believe him over photographic evidence. Today, he was asked once again today by reporters about his relationship with the Giuliani associate and denied ever knowing him.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to him,” Trump said, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Ballhaus who in turn attributed WSJ’s Michael C. Bender. Trump claimed that Parnas is part of some “big hoax,” which is his go-to smear whenever unflattering news breaks about him. Despite the pile of photos of them together, Trump still insists he doesn’t know Parnas “at all.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted that Trump also denied Parnas’s claim that the shenanigans Rudy Giuliani was masterminding in Ukraine were “all about 2020.” When Acosta pushed him on his ludicrous claim that he doesn’t know Parnas and that he just posed for pictures with him Trump told the reporter to be “quiet.”
Trump to reporters in Oval Office on Lev Parnas: “I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to him.” Says Parnas is part of a “big hoax” and that he doesn’t know him “at all” other than taking pictures together, per @MichaelCBender.
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) January 16, 2020
Just asked Trump about Parnas claim that admin efforts in Ukraine were "all about 2020." Trump insisted he's only posed for photos with Parnas. Kept repeating that defense. Eventually told me to be "quiet." Video coming… More to come…
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 16, 2020
Video confirming Acosta’s reporting came out soon after.
Trump has made his choice, now it remains to be seen if Parnas will deliver on his threat. Every time Trump disavows him and a new photo emerges, the president ends up looking guiltier and guiltier. What little credibility he had left is about to doused in gasoline and set on fire.