Lev Parnas said in an interview broadcast on Thursday that he would release a photograph with President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE every time the president denies knowing him, adding that Trump is "lying" about their relationship.
Parnas, who was indicted on campaign finance charges in October, made the remarks on CNN after giving an expansive interview to MSNBC in which he claimed that Trump knew everything about a pressure campaign to get Ukraine to open investigations into political rivals.
Trump denied knowing Parnas in October after Parnas and one of his associates were arrested. The president said at the time that it was possible he had a picture with him, but that it didn't mean anything since he takes pictures with "everybody."
"I welcome him to say that even more. Every time he says that I’ll show him another picture," Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFormer NYC police commissioner to testify before Jan. 6 committee, demands apology Midterms are coming: Will we get answers on Jan. 6 before it's too late? Subpoenas show Jan. 6 panel's focus on Trump's plans MORE, said in the interview on CNN's "New Day." "He’s lying."
"He's lying." Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani's associate who stands at the center of the impeachment inquiry, says about President Trump's claim that that they have never met.https://t.co/qLwZHVZuBB pic.twitter.com/cI0DCQUK3N— New Day (@NewDay) January 16, 2020
Parnas added that he had considered Trump to be a friend, noting that he had gone from being a donor to a close friend of Giuliani to "eventually becoming his asset and his ally on the ground in Ukraine."
"I loved Trump," he said. "When the FBI came to my house, my wife felt embarrassed because they said I had a shrine to him. I had pictures all over. I idolized him. I thought he was the savior."
Parnas's comments came the week that the Senate moves forward with Trump's impeachment trial. It is set to start about a month after the House voted to impeach Trump following an inquiry into allegations that he pressured Ukraine into opening politically beneficial investigations. Trump is also alleged to have used millions in military aid to Ukraine as a source of leverage.
Parnas, who had helped introduce Giuliani to officials in Ukraine, told MSNBC on Wednesday that Trump threatened more than just military aid as officials worked to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The message was it wasn’t just military aid. It was all aid,” he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “Basically, the relationship would be sour. We would stop giving them any kind of aid.”
He also asserted that the Ukraine campaign was never about corruption, "but strictly about Burisma," the Ukrainian energy company that once employed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE's son Hunter Biden. And he claimed that while speaking with people from Zelensky's administration, he made clear that he was there “on behalf of Rudy Giuliani and the president of the United States.”
House committees on Tuesday turned over a cache of documents, including texts and notes, from Parnas to the Senate. The documents had initially been seized by law enforcement following his arrest.
The documents showed additional pieces of evidence about some of the efforts to persuade Ukraine to open an investigation into Biden. Among other things, the documents included a handwritten note from Parnas saying: "Get [Zelensky] to announce that the Biden case will be investigated."
Following Parnas's interview with MSNBC, Giuliani told The Washington Post, "believe him at your peril."
"We all make mistakes. I feel sorry for him and his family," Giuliani said.