Rudy Guiliani’s associate Lev Parnas, who has found himself at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, is planning to tell House Democrats that he traveled to Ukraine to warn top officials that military aid would be frozen unless Kiev announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Parnas also said that Giuliani sent to deliver a message to Ukraine officials that Vice President Mike Pence would not attend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration were the announcement not made, The Times reported, citing Parnas’ attorney.
Parnas’s claim throws cold water on President Trump’s defense that he never sought to pressure Ukraine to get dirt on his political rival.
The assertion from Giuliani’s associate comes just days after White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham doubled down on the claim that no quid pro quo existed relating to Ukraine.
Democrats argue that the efforts constitute an attempt to solicit foreign interference into the U.S. election and that the president’s reported efforts to tie military aid to the issue were illegal.
Parnas is scheduled to testify in upcoming days before the House’s impeachment inquiry, which centers around Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine’s government to investigate Biden as the former vice president runs for the Democratic Party’s 2020 nomination.