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Lev Parnas’ team demands Trump toady AG Bill Barr recuse himself from his trial

Lev Parnas’ team demands Trump toady AG Bill Barr recuse himself from his trial

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Lev Parnas — the Rudy Giuliani associate who brought a major upheaval to the impeachment defense of Donald Trump with his stunning allegations that confirmed the nation’s worst fears about the criminality behind the president’s attempt to extort Ukraine for his own political gain — has now called on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from any involvement in the prosecution of his federal campaign finance violations indictment.

Parnas has requested the recusal in order to “avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest and to preserve the public trust in the rule of law,” according to a letter that Parnas’ attorneys have sent to both the Justice Department and the judge overseeing the case against the now-cooperating witness who has implicated the attorney general as an integral player in the president’s impeachable offenses.

During an interview with MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow last week, Parnas claimed that Donald Trump “knew exactly what was going on” with the efforts by his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his team of cohorts to shakedown the Ukranian government by withholding much needed military aid until they agreed to investigate his potential presidential rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“He was aware of all my movements,” Parnas said to Maddow. “I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials.”

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The Soviet-born entrepreneur also noted that the knowledge of the conspiracy extended beyond just Giuliani and the president.

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“Attorney General Barr was basically on the team,” Parnas told Maddow.

Parnas noted that the attorney general frequently communicated with Giuliani and speculated that Barr “had to have known everything,” confirming suspicions that Barr sees his role more as the president’s personal defense lawyer than as the chief official in an impartial Justice Department.

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Parnas’ attorneys claim that their client has already suffered “actual harm” due to the attorney general’s conflict of interest. They cite the fact that due to “delays in the production of discovery in his federal case,” he was unable to comply with a congressional subpoena in time for House investigators to make use of his evidence and properly assess his value as a potential witness.

His lead attorney Joseph Bondy also says that prosecutors have refused to meet with Mr. Parnas to take delivery of his information regarding the president, Giuliani, and two other right-wing attorneys that Parnas says were involved in the politically motivated scheme, Fox News regulars Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova.

Bondy claims that the information provided by Parnas could potentially benefit his client if he were to be convicted of the campaign finance charges against him, due to the leniency typically afforded defendants who provide crucial information in other, more high profile cases.

While Parnas and his legal team are certainly smart to call for Barr’s recusal in his particular legal proceedings, the involvement of the attorney general in the machinations of the Ukraine scandal alone should be grounds for Barr’s own removal from office before he’s allowed to further erode the public trust in the rule of law.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Sky Palma at RawStory.

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