23/09/2020

‘I know [the vice president] went to Poland also to discuss this on Trump’s behalf, so he couldn’t have not known’

A Soviet-born associate to Donald Trumps personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has directly implicated Mike Pence in the Ukraine scandal, insisting the vice president was aware of demands for political investigations that sparked the president’s impeachment.
Lev Parnas, a key subject in the impeachment saga who has been accused of working with Mr Giuliani to remove the former US ambassador to Ukraine from her post, said Mr Pence couldnt have not known about the administrations demands in a new interview.
Quoting US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondlands key impeachment testimony, Mr Parnas told MSNBCs Rachel Maddow: Everybody was in the loop.
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I know [the vice president] went to Poland also to discuss this on Trumps behalf, so he couldnt have not known, Mr Parnas said in the interview released on Wednesday night. He was supposed to go there and get it straightened out that [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was supposed to make another announcement, and that didnt happen.
Mr Parnas went on to claim the vice president then cancelled his scheduled trip to Ukraine because Mr Zelensky had not announced investigations into one of Mr Trumps 2020 political rivals, Joe Biden. A partial transcript of the presidents 25 July phone call with Mr Zelensky released by the White House showed him asking his Ukrainian counterpart for a favour shortly before encouraging he launch the probes. 
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1/26 Donald Trump
Accused of abusing his office by pressing the Ukrainian president in a July phone call to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who may be his Democratic rival in the 2020 election. He also believes that Hillary Clintons deleted emails – a key factor in the 2016 election – may be in Ukraine, although it is not clear why.
2/26 The Whistleblower
Believed to be a CIA agent who spent time at the White House, his complaint was largely based on second and third-hand accounts from worried White House staff. Although this is not unusual for such complaints, Trump and his supporters have seized on it to imply that his information is not reliable.
Expected to give evidence to Congress voluntarily and in secret.
3/26 The Second Whistleblower
The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower is also representing a second whistleblower regarding the President’s actions. Attorney Mark Zaid said that he and other lawyers on his team are now representing the second person, who is said to work in the intelligence community and has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community’s inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet filed their own complaint, but does not need to to be considered an official whistleblower.
4/26 Rudy Giuliani
Former mayor of New York, whose management of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001 won him worldwide praise. As Trumps personal attorney he has been trying to find compromising material about the presidents enemies in Ukraine in what some have termed a shadow foreign policy.
In a series of eccentric TV appearances he has claimed that the US state department asked him to get involved. Giuliani insists that he is fighting corruption on Trumps behalf and has called himself a hero.
5/26 Volodymyr Zelensky
The newly elected Ukrainian president – a former comic actor best known for playing a man who becomes president by accident – is seen frantically agreeing with Trump in the partial transcript of their July phone call released by the White House.
With a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of his country, and the Crimea region seized by Vladimir Putin in 2014, Zelensky will have been eager to please his American counterpart, who had suspended vital military aid before their phone conversation.
He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the favour he was asked for.
Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference with Trump in New York during the United Nations general assembly, looking particularly uncomfortable when the American suggested he take part in talks with Putin.
6/26 Mike Pence
The vice-president was not on the controversial July call to the Ukrainian president but did get a read-out later.
However, Trump announced that Pence had had one or two phone conversations of a similar nature, dragging him into the crisis. Pence himself denies any knowledge of any wrongdoing and has insisted that there is no issue with Trumps actions.
It has been speculated that Trump involved Pence as an insurance policy – if both are removed from power the presidency would go to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican would allow.
7/26 Rick Perry
Trump reportedly told a meeting of Republicans that he made the controversial call to the Ukrainian president at the urging of his own energy secretary, Rick Perry, and that he didnt even want to.
The president apparently said that Perry wanted him to talk about liquefied natural gas – although there is no mention of it in the partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House. It is thought that Perry will step down from his role at the end of the year.
8/26 Joe Biden
The former vice-president is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination, which would make him Trumps opponent in the 2020 election.
Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Bidens son Hunter was on the board of, refusing to release US aid until this was done.
However, pressure to fire the prosecutor came on a wide front from western countries. It is also believed that the investigation into the company, Burisma, had long been dormant.
9/26 Hunter Biden
Joe Bidens son has been accused of corruption by the president because of his business dealings in Ukraine and China. However, Trump has yet to produce any evidence of corruption and Bidens lawyer insists he has done nothing wrong.
10/26 William Barr
The attorney-general, who proved his loyalty to Trump with his handling of the Mueller report, was mentioned in the Ukraine call as someone president Volodymyr Zelensky should talk to about following up Trumps preoccupations with the Bidens and the Clinton emails.
Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr of being part of a cover-up of a cover-up.
11/26 Mike Pompeo
The secretary of state initially implied he knew little about the Ukraine phone call – but it later emerged that he was listening in at the time.
He has since suggested that asking foreign leaders for favours is simply how international politics works.
Gordon Sondland testified that Pompeo was “in the loop” and knew what was happening in Ukraine. Pompeo has been criticised for not standing up for diplomats under his command when they were publicly criticised by the president.
12/26 Nancy Pelosi
The Democratic Speaker of the House had long resisted calls from within her own party to back a formal impeachment process against the president, apparently fearing a backlash from voters. On September 24, amid reports of the Ukraine call and the day before the White House released a partial transcript of it, she relented and announced an inquiry, saying: The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.
13/26 Adam Schiff
Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, one of the three committees leading the inquiry.
He was criticized by Republicans for giving what he called a parody of the Ukraine phone call during a hearing, with Trump and others saying he had been pretending that his damning characterisation was a verbatim reading of the phone call.
He has also been criticised for claiming that his committee had had no contact with the whistleblower, only for it to emerge that the intelligence agent had contacted a staff member on the committee for guidance before filing the complaint.
The Washington Post awarded Schiff a four Pinocchios rating, its worst rating for a dishonest statement.
14/26 Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman
Florida-based businessmen and Republican donors Lev Parnas (pictured with Rudy Giuliani) and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of campaign finance violations at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC on 9 October.
Separately the Associated Press has reported that they were both involved in efforts to replace the management of Ukraine’s gas company, Naftogaz, with new bosses who would steer lucrative contracts towards companies controlled by Trump allies. There is no suggestion of any criminal activity in these efforts.
15/26 William Taylor
The most senior US diplomat in Ukraine and the former ambassador there. As one of the first two witnesses in the public impeachment hearings, Taylor dropped an early bombshell by revealing that one of his staff later identified as diplomat David Holmes overheard a phone conversation in which Donald Trump could be heard asking about investigations the very day after asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his political enemies. Taylor expressed his concern at reported plans to withhold US aid in return for political smears against Trumps opponents, saying: It’s one thing to try to leverage a meeting in the White House. It’s another thing, I thought, to leverage security assistance — security assistance to a country at war, dependent on both the security assistance and the demonstration of support.”
16/26 George Kent
A state department official who appeared alongside William Taylor wearing a bow tie that was later mocked by the president. He accused Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trumps personal lawyer, of leading a campaign of lies against Marie Yovanovitch, who was forced out of her job as US ambassador to Ukraine for apparently standing in the way of efforts to smear Democrats.
17/26 Marie Yovanovitch
One of the most striking witnesses to give evidence at the public hearings, the former US ambassador to Ukraine received a rare round of applause as she left the committee room after testifying. Canadian-born Yovanovitch was attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump while she was actually testifying, giving Democrats the chance to ask her to respond. She said she found the attack very intimidating. Trump had already threatened her in his 25 July phone call to the Ukrainian president saying: Shes going to go through some things.
Yovanovitch said she was shocked, appalled and devastated by the threat and by the way she was forced out of her job without explanation.
18/26 Alexander Vindman
A decorated Iraq War veteran and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Lt Col Vindman began his evidence with an eye-catching statement about the freedoms America afforded him and his family to speak truth to power without fear of punishment.
One of the few witnesses to have actually listened to Trumps 25 July call with the Ukrainian president, he said he found the conversation so inappropriate that he was compelled to report it to the White House counsel. Trump later mocked him for wearing his military uniform and insisting on being addressed by his rank.
19/26 Jennifer Williams
A state department official acting as a Russia expert for vice-president Mike Pence, Ms Williams also listened in on the 25 July phone call. She testified that she found it unusual because it focused on domestic politics in terms of Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate his political opponents.
20/26 Kurt Volker
The former special envoy to Ukraine was one of the few people giving evidence who was on the Republican witness list although what he had to say may not have been too helpful to their cause. He dismissed the idea that Joe Biden had done anything corrupt, a theory spun without evidence by the president and his allies. He said that he thought the US should be supporting Ukraines reforms and that the scheme to find dirt on Democrats did not serve the national interest.
21/26 Tim Morrison
An expert on the National Security Council and another witness on the Republican list. He testified that he did not think the president had done anything illegal but admitted that he feared it would create a political storm if it became public. He said he believed the moving the record of the controversial 25 July phone call to a top security server had been an innocent mistake.
22/26 Gordon Sondland
In explosive testimony, one of the men at the centre of the scandal got right to the point in his opening testimony: Was there a quid pro quo? Yes, said the US ambassador to the EU who was a prime mover in efforts in Ukraine to link the release of military aid with investigations into the presidents political opponents. He said that everyone knew what was going on, implicating vice-president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The effect of his evidence is perhaps best illustrated by the reaction of Mr Trump who went from calling Sondland a great American a few weeks earlier to claiming that he barely knew him.
23/26 Laura Cooper
A Pentagon official, Cooper said Ukrainian officials knew that US aid was being withheld before it became public knowledge in August undermining a Republican argument that there cant have been a quid pro quo between aid and investigations if the Ukrainians didnt know that aid was being withheld.
24/26 David Hale
The third most senior official at the state department. Hale testified about the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch and the smear campaign that culminated in her being recalled from her posting as US ambassador to Ukraine. He said: I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.
25/26 Fiona Hill
Arguably the most confident and self-possessed of the witnesses in the public hearings phase, the Durham-born former NSC Russia expert began by warning Republicans not to keep repeating Kremlin-backed conspiracy theories. In a distinctive northeastern English accent, Dr Hill went on to describe how she had argued with Gordon Sondland about his interference in Ukraine matters until she realised that while she and her colleagues were focused on national security, Sondland was being involved in a domestic political errand.
She said: I did say to him, Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, this is going to blow up. And here we are.
26/26 David Holmes
The Ukraine-based diplomat described being in a restaurant in Kiev with Gordon Sondland while the latter phoned Donald Trump. Holmes said he could hear the president on the other end of the line because his voice was so loud and distinctive and because Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear asking about the investigations and whether the Ukrainian president would cooperate.
1/26 Donald Trump
Accused of abusing his office by pressing the Ukrainian president in a July phone call to help dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who may be his Democratic rival in the 2020 election. He also believes that Hillary Clintons deleted emails – a key factor in the 2016 election – may be in Ukraine, although it is not clear why.
2/26 The Whistleblower
Believed to be a CIA agent who spent time at the White House, his complaint was largely based on second and third-hand accounts from worried White House staff. Although this is not unusual for such complaints, Trump and his supporters have seized on it to imply that his information is not reliable.
Expected to give evidence to Congress voluntarily and in secret.
3/26 The Second Whistleblower
The lawyer for the first intelligence whistleblower is also representing a second whistleblower regarding the President’s actions. Attorney Mark Zaid said that he and other lawyers on his team are now representing the second person, who is said to work in the intelligence community and has first-hand knowledge that supports claims made by the first whistleblower and has spoken to the intelligence community’s inspector general. The second whistleblower has not yet filed their own complaint, but does not need to to be considered an official whistleblower.
4/26 Rudy Giuliani
Former mayor of New York, whose management of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001 won him worldwide praise. As Trumps personal attorney he has been trying to find compromising material about the presidents enemies in Ukraine in what some have termed a shadow foreign policy.
In a series of eccentric TV appearances he has claimed that the US state department asked him to get involved. Giuliani insists that he is fighting corruption on Trumps behalf and has called himself a hero.
5/26 Volodymyr Zelensky
The newly elected Ukrainian president – a former comic actor best known for playing a man who becomes president by accident – is seen frantically agreeing with Trump in the partial transcript of their July phone call released by the White House.
With a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of his country, and the Crimea region seized by Vladimir Putin in 2014, Zelensky will have been eager to please his American counterpart, who had suspended vital military aid before their phone conversation.
He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the favour he was asked for.
Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference with Trump in New York during the United Nations general assembly, looking particularly uncomfortable when the American suggested he take part in talks with Putin.
6/26 Mike Pence
The vice-president was not on the controversial July call to the Ukrainian president but did get a read-out later.
However, Trump announced that Pence had had one or two phone conversations of a similar nature, dragging him into the crisis. Pence himself denies any knowledge of any wrongdoing and has insisted that there is no issue with Trumps actions.
It has been speculated that Trump involved Pence as an insurance policy – if both are removed from power the presidency would go to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican would allow.
7/26 Rick Perry
Trump reportedly told a meeting of Republicans that he made the controversial call to the Ukrainian president at the urging of his own energy secretary, Rick Perry, and that he didnt even want to.
The president apparently said that Perry wanted him to talk about liquefied natural gas – although there is no mention of it in the partial transcript of the phone call released by the White House. It is thought that Perry will step down from his role at the end of the year.
8/26 Joe Biden
The former vice-president is one of the frontrunners to win the Democratic nomination, which would make him Trumps opponent in the 2020 election.
Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Bidens son Hunter was on the board of, refusing to release US aid until this was done.
However, pressure to fire the prosecutor came on a wide front from western countries. It is also believed that the investigation into the company, Burisma, had long been dormant.
9/26 Hunter Biden
Joe Bidens son has been accused of corruption by the president because of his business dealings in Ukraine and China. However, Trump has yet to produce any evidence of corruption and Bidens lawyer insists he has done nothing wrong.
10/26 William Barr
The attorney-general, who proved his loyalty to Trump with his handling of the Mueller report, was mentioned in the Ukraine call as someone president Volodymyr Zelensky should talk to about following up Trumps preoccupations with the Bidens and the Clinton emails.
Nancy Pelosi has accused Barr of being part of a cover-up of a cover-up.
11/26 Mike Pompeo
The secretary of state initially implied he knew little about the Ukraine phone call – but it later emerged that he was listening in at the time.
He has since suggested that asking foreign leaders for favours is simply how international politics works.
Gordon Sondland testified that Pompeo was “in the loop” and knew what was happening in Ukraine. Pompeo has been criticised for not standing up for diplomats under his command when they were publicly criticised by the president.
12/26 Nancy Pelosi
The Democratic Speaker of the House had long resisted calls from within her own party to back a formal impeachment process against the president, apparently fearing a backlash from voters. On September 24, amid reports of the Ukraine call and the day before the White House released a partial transcript of it, she relented and announced an inquiry, saying: The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.
13/26 Adam Schiff
Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, one of the three committees leading the inquiry.
He was criticized by Republicans for giving what he called a parody of the Ukraine phone call during a hearing, with Trump and others saying he had been pretending that his damning characterisation was a verbatim reading of the phone call.
He has also been criticised for claiming that his committee had had no contact with the whistleblower, only for it to emerge that the intelligence agent had contacted a staff member on the committee for guidance before filing the complaint.
The Washington Post awarded Schiff a four Pinocchios rating, its worst rating for a dishonest statement.
14/26 Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman
Florida-based businessmen and Republican donors Lev Parnas (pictured with Rudy Giuliani) and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of campaign finance violations at Dulles International Airport near Washington DC on 9 October.
Separately the Associated Press has reported that they were both involved in efforts to replace the management of Ukraine’s gas company, Naftogaz, with new bosses who would steer lucrative contracts towards companies controlled by Trump allies. There is no suggestion of any criminal activity in these efforts.
15/26 William Taylor
The most senior US diplomat in Ukraine and the former ambassador there. As one of the first two witnesses in the public impeachment hearings, Taylor dropped an early bombshell by revealing that one of his staff later identified as diplomat David Holmes overheard a phone conversation in which Donald Trump could be heard asking about investigations the very day after asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his political enemies. Taylor expressed his concern at reported plans to withhold US aid in return for political smears against Trumps opponents, saying: It’s one thing to try to leverage a meeting in the White House. It’s another thing, I thought, to leverage security assistance — security assistance to a country at war, dependent on both the security assistance and the demonstration of support.”
16/26 George Kent
A state department official who appeared alongside William Taylor wearing a bow tie that was later mocked by the president. He accused Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trumps personal lawyer, of leading a campaign of lies against Marie Yovanovitch, who was forced out of her job as US ambassador to Ukraine for apparently standing in the way of efforts to smear Democrats.
17/26 Marie Yovanovitch
One of the most striking witnesses to give evidence at the public hearings, the former US ambassador to Ukraine received a rare round of applause as she left the committee room after testifying. Canadian-born Yovanovitch was attacked on Twitter by Donald Trump while she was actually testifying, giving Democrats the chance to ask her to respond. She said she found the attack very intimidating. Trump had already threatened her in his 25 July phone call to the Ukrainian president saying: Shes going to go through some things.
Yovanovitch said she was shocked, appalled and devastated by the threat and by the way she was forced out of her job without explanation.
18/26 Alexander Vindman
A decorated Iraq War veteran and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Lt Col Vindman began his evidence with an eye-catching statement about the freedoms America afforded him and his family to speak truth to power without fear of punishment.
One of the few witnesses to have actually listened to Trumps 25 July call with the Ukrainian president, he said he found the conversation so inappropriate that he was compelled to report it to the White House counsel. Trump later mocked him for wearing his military uniform and insisting on being addressed by his rank.
19/26 Jennifer Williams
A state department official acting as a Russia expert for vice-president Mike Pence, Ms Williams also listened in on the 25 July phone call. She testified that she found it unusual because it focused on domestic politics in terms of Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate his political opponents.
20/26 Kurt Volker
The former special envoy to Ukraine was one of the few people giving evidence who was on the Republican witness list although what he had to say may not have been too helpful to their cause. He dismissed the idea that Joe Biden had done anything corrupt, a theory spun without evidence by the president and his allies. He said that he thought the US should be supporting Ukraines reforms and that the scheme to find dirt on Democrats did not serve the national interest.
21/26 Tim Morrison
An expert on the National Security Council and another witness on the Republican list. He testified that he did not think the president had done anything illegal but admitted that he feared it would create a political storm if it became public. He said he believed the moving the record of the controversial 25 July phone call to a top security server had been an innocent mistake.
22/26 Gordon Sondland
In explosive testimony, one of the men at the centre of the scandal got right to the point in his opening testimony: Was there a quid pro quo? Yes, said the US ambassador to the EU who was a prime mover in efforts in Ukraine to link the release of military aid with investigations into the presidents political opponents. He said that everyone knew what was going on, implicating vice-president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The effect of his evidence is perhaps best illustrated by the reaction of Mr Trump who went from calling Sondland a great American a few weeks earlier to claiming that he barely knew him.
23/26 Laura Cooper
A Pentagon official, Cooper said Ukrainian officials knew that US aid was being withheld before it became public knowledge in August undermining a Republican argument that there cant have been a quid pro quo between aid and investigations if the Ukrainians didnt know that aid was being withheld.
24/26 David Hale
The third most senior official at the state department. Hale testified about the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch and the smear campaign that culminated in her being recalled from her posting as US ambassador to Ukraine. He said: I believe that she should have been able to stay at post and continue to do the outstanding work.
25/26 Fiona Hill
Arguably the most confident and self-possessed of the witnesses in the public hearings phase, the Durham-born former NSC Russia expert began by warning Republicans not to keep repeating Kremlin-backed conspiracy theories. In a distinctive northeastern English accent, Dr Hill went on to describe how she had argued with Gordon Sondland about his interference in Ukraine matters until she realised that while she and her colleagues were focused on national security, Sondland was being involved in a domestic political errand.
She said: I did say to him, Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, this is going to blow up. And here we are.
26/26 David Holmes
The Ukraine-based diplomat described being in a restaurant in Kiev with Gordon Sondland while the latter phoned Donald Trump. Holmes said he could hear the president on the other end of the line because his voice was so loud and distinctive and because Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear asking about the investigations and whether the Ukrainian president would cooperate.
An impeachment inquiry was sparked after an anonymous whistleblower filed an official complaint about that phone call. 
Mr Trump has been accused of withholding crucial military aid to Ukraine and an important White House visit with the countrys new president as it fought a war with Russia while demanding Mr Zelensky announce the political probes to seemingly undermine Mr Bidens candidacy in the 2020 elections. 
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The aid itself was something that I think the president decided to do, Mr Parnas added. It was, I think, a reaction to that there was no announcement being made after so many attempts and so many promises.
Mr Parnas latest interview adds further speculation as to whether Mr Pence was involved in those demands, just as the impeachment trial was set to begin in the US Senate.
Marc Short, the vice presidents chief of staff, denied the allegations in a statement criticising Mr Parnas credibility.
Democrat witnesses have testified under oath in direct contradiction to Lev Parnas statements last night, Mr Short reportedly said.
He added: This is very simple: Lev Parnas is under a multi-count indictment and will say anything to anybody who will listen in hopes of staying out of prison. Its no surprise that only the liberal media is listening to him.