Lev Parnas Explains His Decision to Talk

Former Giuliani associate says he felt betrayed by lack of support after arrest
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2020 9:21 AM CST
Lev Parnas Explains His Decision to Talk
In this December 2019 photo, Lev Parnas arrives at court in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas is continuing his public accusations against President Trump's Ukraine maneuvers. On Wednesday, Parnas made big news by appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show and asserting that Trump himself knew all about the pressure being put on Ukraine's president to announce an investigation into the Bidens. On Thursday, part 2 of the interview aired, and Parnas also spoke to CNN and to the Daily Beast. Some highlights:

  • Perry: On CNN, Parnas said that Energy Secretary Rick Perry—working closely with Giuliani—played a direct role in trying to get President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce a Biden investigation, reports ABC News. Perry attended Zelensky's inauguration, and Parnas says Perry reached out to Giuliani while en route to ask what he should discuss with Zelensky. Parnas said Perry subsequently reported to Giuliani that Zelensky agreed to open the investigation, though the Ukraine leader never followed through.
  • His reason: Parnas tells the Daily Beast that he is speaking out against the White House because he received no support after his arrest last year on campaign finance charges. "I felt like my family left me," he said, referring to the lack of public statements on his behalf by Giuliani and others. Trump also disavowed him publicly.

  • A theory: "It was all about 2020, to make sure [Trump] had another four years," Parnas told Maddow. “That’s the way everybody viewed it. There was no other reason for doing it." In the interview, he liked Trump to a "cult leader."
  • Jail visit: Parnas told Maddow that Trump attorney John Dowd visited him in jail after his arrest and told him to keep quiet, reports the Hill. "Were they telling you to sacrifice yourself in order to protect the president?" asked Maddow. "That's what I felt," he responded.
  • Big ratings: The first night of Maddow's interview led to record ratings for her show, reports the Hollywood Reporter. The show averaged 4.47 million viewers, the largest number in its 11-year run.
(More Lev Parnas stories.)

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