House Intelligence Committee Releases New Lev Parnas Documents

Jan 17, 2020
Originally published on January 17, 2020 3:12 pm
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The House Intelligence Committee has just released new documents provided by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The documents will be sent over to the Senate as part of the official record of the impeachment trial. Congressional reporter Claudia Grisales has seen the documents and is in the studio with us now.

Welcome back.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi there.

CORNISH: What have you learned from this latest batch of information?

GRISALES: Yes. What we're seeing here is a third wave of documents from this figure, Lev Parnas. He's become a lot more familiar to us by the end of this week. And in this document release, we're seeing dozens of pages of text messages and photos. Some of these photos feature Parnas with President Trump or his son, Donald Trump Jr.

And we also see text messages showing that Lev Parnas worked with Trump associate - his outside attorney, actually, Rudy Giuliani. And he worked with him to have John Dowd - this is a former Trump attorney - to represent Parnas. We also see text messages between Parnas and a man by the name of Derek Harvey. This is an aide to Representative Devin Nunes. And Parnas appears to set up a Skype interview between him and a Ukrainian prosecutor, so those are the people we're hearing about. And it adds another layer of evidence connecting Parnas to President Trump and this Ukrainian saga.

CORNISH: And is this information that just came to the committee? Or - help us understand the timeline of this.

GRISALES: Yes. So the committee, tonight, according to a Democratic aide, told us they received these documents tied to a subpoena filed last October. It did come to the House Intelligence Committee. And they are transmitting these documents to the House Judiciary Committee and will eventually make their way to the Senate impeachment trial.

CORNISH: We've been seeing a lot of Lev Parnas on television, right? Give us the sense of his background.

GRISALES: So he was indicted in October by federal prosecutors in New York on campaign finance charges. Those are not directly related to his work with Giuliani. Parnas has pleaded not guilty in that case, but he's under a lot of legal pressure. And now he says he wants to get out his story on how he's involved in this Ukraine affair. So we know him as an associate to Giuliani, who is President Trump's personal attorney. And he continues to make appearances now to tell his side of the story.

CORNISH: As we mentioned, it's the latest of several waves of kind of new evidence or information. Any sense of how could they - could actually affect the Senate impeachment trial that's supposed to begin, more or less, Tuesday?

GRISALES: That remains to be seen. We first need to get to an organizing resolution on Tuesday on kind of the opening arguments in the case. And whether these documents will make their way before senators as part of the trial, that's another question. That's...

CORNISH: So is that something they could vote on?

GRISALES: Exactly, so that's something that they need to consider as they set up the parameters of this trial and whether it will be part of the official record of documents they'll be looking at.

CORNISH: That's NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales.

Thanks so much for looking through it all.

GRISALES: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.