Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP

Pressure is growing on Senate Republicans to call Lev Parnas, an associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHouse panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance Pennsylvania Democrat says US Attorney's Office should prioritize opioids rather than 'Russian propaganda' from Giuliani Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn 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 BidenWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE.

The revelations, Democrats argue, underscore the need for witnesses and documents — something Republicans have so far resisted. 

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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Juan Williams: Black votes matter Clyburn: Biden 'suffered' from not doing 'enough' in early debates 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 MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyKennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Mass.) endorsed that effort, saying Parnas should be added to Democrats’ list of impeachment witnesses. 

Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE cannot be allowed to cover up the truth and protect Donald Trump. The Senate must hear directly from John BoltonJohn BoltonSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' Trump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' MORE, Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report 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.

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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 YovanovitchHouse panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance President Trump's assault on checks and balances: Five acts in four weeks Former US ambassador Yovanovitch lands a book deal: report MORE.

Parnas, since then, has engaged in a blitz of TV hits where he’s incriminated former Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryTop National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative Rick Perry to rejoin dental insurance company as chief strategy officer 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 HollenOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Md.) described his reaction to watching Parnas’s interview with Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowTlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech Schiff: Bolton 'refused' to submit affidavit on Trump's involvement in Ukraine controversy Tlaib says mention of Kavanaugh was 'trigger' to walk out of Trump speech 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters during a press conference. 

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe 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 SchiffOcasio-Cortez: Trump would 'never' say to her face some of the shots he takes at her on Twitter John Ratcliffe back under consideration by Trump for top intel job Trump says he wants 'no help from any country' in 2020 election 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.” 

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“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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: More closures possible at US bases in Europe as coronavirus spreads | Pompeo says Afghan 'reduction in violence is working' | Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon Pompeo: Afghanistan 'reduction of violence is working' Pompeo accuses China and Iran of hiding coronavirus outbreak 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 CornynHillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates Trump creates new headaches for GOP with top intelligence pick MORE (R-Texas) told reporters. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocrats duke it out in most negative debate so far Republicans give Barr vote of confidence Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (R-S.C.) added that “I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw him.”

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Schumer: Trump coronavirus response marked by 'towering and dangerous incompetence' The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday 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 SondlandHouse wants documents on McEntee's security clearances Trump says he wants officials who are 'loyal to our country' Former US ambassador Yovanovitch lands a book deal: report MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. 

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“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.