The House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly played a key role in assisting him in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
The material submitted to the committee includes audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump. It was unclear what the content depicts and the committees only began accessing the material last week.
Parnas, who was arrested a few months ago as he apparently tried to flee the country, seems hell;-bent on getting leniency, so his co-operationn should be viewed skeptically. However, if he has the receipts, this is potentially big.
Parnas also has the goods, it seems, on Devin Nunes. He is prepared to testify under oath that aides to Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, scrapped a trip to Ukraine this year when they realized it would mean notifying Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff.
Lev Parnas would tell Congress that the purpose of the planned trip was to interview two Ukrainian prosecutors who claimed to have evidence that could help President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign,
But when Nunes’ staff realized that going to Ukraine themselves would mean alerting Schiff to their plans, they instead asked Parnas to set up the meetings for them over phone and Skype, which he did, according to Bondy.
The Nunes team’s scrapped trip to Ukraine has not been previously reported, nor have the meetings that Bondy said his client arranged in place of the overseas trip. The meetings took place in late March, and Derek Harvey, a senior investigator for Nunes, represented the congressman, according to Bondy. One of the meetings was with Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky, and it was held over Skype, Parnas would tell Congress, according to Bondy. The second was a phone call Parnas arranged for Harvey with a deputy in Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office, Konstantin Kulik, Bondy added.
Both Kulik and Kholodnytsky have repeatedly claimed they witnessed corruption by Democratic operatives in Ukraine during the 2016 election. Neither official has produced evidence to support his account. A Nunes spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment about what Parnas would reveal to Congress.
According to Bondy, Parnas says he began working with Harvey after Nunes and his staff traveled to Vienna in late November to meet with another potential source of political dirt on Democrats: former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who claims that Biden demanded his firing because Shokin was secretly investigating a gas company, Burisma, whose board included Hunter Biden.
CNN first reported Friday that Parnas wanted to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about the Vienna trip. Since then, Nunes has threatened to sue CNN and The Daily Beast, which also reported on Parnas’ allegations.
Asked point blank during a Fox News interview Sunday whether he met with Shokin in Vienna, the California congressman refused to answer, saying that Parnas was “a criminal” and that he would not “debate this out with the public media when 90% of the media are totally corrupt.”
The latest allegations about the planned trip to Ukraine this spring, however, suggest that Nunes’ purported efforts to dig up dirt on Biden and Democrats did not end with the Vienna trip.
They also potentially implicate Nunes and his committee staff in the same events the committee is currently investigating — specifically, the monthslong effort by Trump, Giuliani and others to get Ukrainian officials to help them dig up dirt on Biden, and to validate far-right conspiracy claims about Ukraine and the 2016 election.
Trump raised both of these issues on a phone call July 25 with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, prompting a whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment investigation into the president.