Democrats release new documents on eve of impeachment trial

Lev Parnas

Enlarge Image Lev Parnas AP

"Attorney General Barr wanted to get to the bottom of the Biden situation and all of that" as part of the investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is investigating how the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign started.

A lawyer for Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted USA ambassador to Ukraine, called for an investigation after documents released on Tuesday suggested that she had been under surveillance in Ukraine.

Police in Ukraine are investigating the possible surveillance of former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the country's Interior Ministry announced Thursday.

The allegation is this: Trump and his legal team offered to have federal foreign bribery charges against Firtash dropped if the oligarch, described by federal prosecutors as an "upper-echelon" associate of the Russian mafia, helped Trump discredit the Mueller investigation and Joe Biden.

Trump told reporters that he does not know Parnas, suggesting he was simply one of the thousands of people with whom he's taken pictures at fundraisers. "Please don't tell anyone I can't get the crooked Ambassador fired or I did three times and she's still there".

President Trump knew exactly what was going on.

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The ministry said investigators were examining whether any laws had been broken or if the messages had simply been "bravado".

What about the former U.S. ambassador?

Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has dismissed the claims.

"I would caution people, it's always [that] if they're against Donald Trump, they're credible, they're legitimate". But when Rachel sat down yesterday with Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate involved with executing the Ukraine scheme, he suggested the references made sense to him. "The guys over they asked me what I would like to do and what is in it for them", Hyde wrote in one message.

The exchange between Parnas and Hyde is "profoundly alarming", says Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of NY, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. "Who am I? They were told to meet with me", he told Maddow.

In another development involving Ukraine, federal watchdog the Government Accountability Office said Thursday that Trump's administration broke the law when it withheld roughly $214 million in USA security assistance funds from Ukraine last summer.

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The comments come as critics have been casting doubt over Parnas' claims about President Trump and Giuliani.

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on September 20, 2019.

Democrats in the House of Representatives released the files this week as they prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for Trump's trial. The associate, Lev Parnas, could even be called as a witness in the Senate trial.

He told his Ukrainian counterpart in July 2019 that she was "going to go through some things", according to a rough White House transcript of the presidents' conversation - a message Yovanovitch said she found threatening. In the letter's first paragraph, the former New York City mayor says not once, but twice, that he is President Trump's "private counsel", and will be representing President Trump as a private citizen, not the chief executive of the United States. "Assuming that this hacking did, in fact, occur - and I have no reason to doubt that it did - nothing has yet come of it".

Parnas told Maddow he was never anxious that Yovanovitch might be "in danger" because Hyde was "drunk all the time".

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