Pressure is growing on Senate Republicans to call Lev Parnas, an associate of President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRoger Stone served with Capitol riot lawsuit during radio interview FEC finds Twitter didn't break law by blocking spread of Hunter Biden story Juan Williams: The toxic legacy of Trump's corruption MORE, to testify in the impeachment trial.
Democrats are opening the door to hearing from Parnas as a witness at the impeachment trial after an explosive round of media interviews and new evidence released by House Democrats, which details Parnas’s role in trying to convince the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE.
The revelations, Democrats argue, underscore the need for witnesses and documents — something Republicans have so far resisted.
Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Harris facilitates coin toss at Howard University football game Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE (Calif.) became the first Senate Democrat to call for Parnas to testify, telling MSNBC that the accusations levied by Parnas “should be pursued and should be reviewed” by the Senate.
“I think he should be brought before us so that we can determine his credibility. There are many ways to judge credibility,” Harris said.
Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE (D-Mass.) endorsed that effort, saying Parnas should be added to Democrats’ list of impeachment witnesses.
“Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally House to act on debt ceiling next week MORE cannot be allowed to cover up the truth and protect Donald Trump. The Senate must hear directly from John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE, Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE, and Lev Parnas,” Markey tweeted.
Parnas has offered to testify, saying that along with former national security adviser John Bolton he could “fit in all the dots, I think, because I was on the ground there, and he was over here."
“Why aren't they calling me to testify? ... Call me. Ask me what Biden did wrong ... I think they're very afraid of me,” said Parnas, who has pleaded not guilty to campaign finance violations. He is reportedly looking to cooperate with prosecutors in his case.
Democrats released communications this week detailing Parnas conversations with Giuliani. The documents sparked a round of new questions days before the impeachment trial gets underway in earnest, including about whether Republicans were tracking former Ukraine Ambassador Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGiuliani hires attorneys who defended Harvey Weinstein The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Former Ukrainian prosecutor says he was fired for not investigating Hunter Biden: report MORE.
Parnas, since then, has engaged in a blitz of TV hits where he’s incriminated former Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryRepublicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party College football move rocks Texas legislature Trump tries to spin failed Texas endorsement: 'This was a win' MORE, Giuliani and President Trump.
“He was aware of all of my movements,” he said of Trump. “I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”
Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenBottom line Spendthrift Democrats ignore looming bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare Progressive pollster: 65 percent of likely voters would back polluters tax MORE (D-Md.) described his reaction to watching Parnas’s interview with Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowRachel Maddow extends contract with MSNBC: reports OAN loses appeal in defamation lawsuit against Rachel Maddow Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him MORE as “wow.”
“All I can say is this: Republican senators who refuse to support the calling of fact witnesses and relevant documents should just resign for dereliction of duty under the Constitution,” he said.
The news dump comes amid a bumpy patch for the Trump administration. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Friday accusing the White House of breaking the law with the decision to delay the Ukraine aid at the heart of the impeachment effort.
Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested last year on allegations that they violated campaign finance laws in order to funnel money as part of a straw donor scheme to numerous Republican committees, including a $325,000 contribution in May 2018 to a pro-Trump super PAC called America First Action.
Democratic leadership and House impeachment managers aren’t ruling out trying to call Parnas as a witness. So far they have indicated they want to hear from Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Mulvaney's senior adviser Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, the associate director of national security at the Office of Management.
“As for Mr. Parnas, it’s something we wouldn't rule out, but we want to see all of the — evidently there are four sets of emails coming out and I'd want to wait to see those,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters during a press conference.
Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinManchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema US gymnasts offer scathing assessment of FBI MORE (D-Ill.), Schumer’s No. 2, added that Parnas’s communications “make it clear that Rudy Giuliani was negotiating directly, trying to negotiate directly with the president of Ukraine, over this question of military aid and the investigation of the Biden family.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Hillicon Valley — Hacking goes global Schiff calls on Amazon, Facebook to address spread of vaccine misinformation Spotlight turns to GOP's McCarthy in Jan. 6 probe MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement that they were reviewing “his interviews and the materials he has provided to evaluate his potential testimony in the Senate trial.”
The White House has sought to distance itself from Parnas's accusations. Trump said that he had never heard of Parnas, arguing that he takes “thousands and thousands of pictures with people.”
“I don't even know who this man is, other than I guess he attended fundraisers so I take a picture with him,” Trump told reporters.
Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries MORE have also both denied knowing Parnas, with Pence calling his accusations “completely false.”
Senate Republicans brushed off the revelations casting doubt on his credibility. If Democrats decided to try to call Parnas they would need four Republican senators to endorse calling him — so far none have.
“Looks kind of like a shady character,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime MORE (R-Texas) told reporters.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-S.C.) added that “I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him.”
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State Tell our troops: 'Your sacrifice wasn't in vain' Sunday shows preview: Bombing in Kabul delivers blow to evacuation effort; US orders strikes on ISIS-K MORE (D-Conn.) noted that while he wasn’t sure if Parnas is credible, his allegations do line up with other testimony from House impeachment inquiry witnesses including Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Biden to mark Tuesday anniversary of George Floyd's death Trump impeachment witness suing Pompeo, State over legal fees America's practice of 'pay-to-play' ambassadors is no joke MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
“I don't know whether Parnas is credible. What I know is that every criminal conspiracy is unwound by prosecutors by going after the implementers, then ultimately give you information to go after the person who ordered it. So I don’t know if Parnas is credible, but everything he's saying has frankly been confirmed by other witnesses,” Murphy said.
“It is just an open and shut case to me that the president directed this scheme,” he added, “and Parnas’s testimony fits neatly with what we've already heard.”
Rebecca Kheel contributed.