Administration

Giuliani associate says he sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate Bidens

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A lawyer representing an associate of Rudy Giuliani told The New York Times on Sunday that his client warned Ukrainian officials that the Trump administration would freeze military aid to Ukraine unless Kiev announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

{mosads}According to the Times, Lev Parnas, who has found himself at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, is planning to tell House Democrats that he traveled to Ukraine to warn top officials that military aid would be frozen and that Vice President Pence would not attend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration were the announcement not made.

An attorney for Parnas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Parnas’s claim comes despite the president and other top administration officials insisting that military aid to Ukraine was never held up on the condition of Ukraine’s government opening an investigation into Biden, a top contender for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

Giuliani sharply disputed Parnas’s claim in a statement to the Times.
 
“Categorically, I did not tell him to say that,” he said.
 
Another associate of Giuliani’s, Parnas’s business partner Igor Fruman, also denied that the conversation took place, according to the Times.
 
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.
 
“The transcripts that were released … show exactly what the president has been saying all along, and that is that he did nothing wrong and there was no quid pro quo,” Grisham said Tuesday on Fox Business Network.

“These transcripts are actually … good for the president,” she added.

 
Parnas is scheduled to testify in the coming days as part of 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.
 
Democrats argue that the efforts constitute an attempt to solicit foreign assistance in a U.S. election and that the president’s reported efforts to tie military aid to the issue were illegal.
Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Mike Pence Rudy Giuliani Stephanie Grisham
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