Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, has told associates that he and his business partner, Igor Fruman, discussed Ukraine with President Donald Trump at an April 2018 donor dinner, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Parnas told associates that he and Fruman informed Trump that then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was unfavorable to the President and his interests, according to the Post. Trump responded by immediately stating Yovanovitch should be fired, people familiar told the paper.
A former senior administration official told the Post that Giuliani repeatedly updated Trump about Parnas’ and Fruman’s efforts in Ukraine.
Reports of the President discussing Ukraine with Parnas and Fruman at a dinner more than a year ago undercut Trump’s repeated claim that he doesn’t know the pair.
Parnas and Fruman were detained at Dulles International Airport in October. The men — both central to the impeachment inquiry in the House — were arrested and indicted on criminal charges of funneling foreign money to US elections. They pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan federal court last month.
“I don’t know them,” Trump told reporters after they were arrested. “I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do but I don’t know, maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy, I just don’t know.”
CNN’s KFile reported earlier Tuesday on a series of photos that show 10 interactions between Trump and Parnas and Fruman. The interactions include VIP photos at campaign events, attendance at high-dollar fundraisers and a retreat.
They also include a pre-inauguration gala for high-dollar donors, an intimate dinner with the President and photos at a White House Hanukkah dinner with the President, Vice President Mike Pence and Giuliani. On seven of the occasions, Trump posed for photos with either Fruman or Parnas.
Parnas has initiated talks with impeachment investigators through his attorney.
The attorney, Joseph Bondy, told the team from CNN earlier this month that he had sent a letter to congressional investigators saying Parnas will comply with a congressional subpoena for his documents and testimony. However, Bondy said he would not use the word “cooperate.”
Bondy also accused Trump of falsely denying he had a relationship with Parnas.