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GOP senator, Chuck Todd spar over whether Lev Parnas should testify in Senate impeachment trial

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) sparred with host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChicago mayor says COVID-19 vaccine faces 'reluctance' among African American communities Mullen: 'National security issues do not wait' for presidential transitions Republican Arkansas governor: Trump beginning transition process more 'significant' than a concession MORE on NBC's "Meet the Press" about whether Lev Parnas should testify in the Senate impeachment trial.

Todd asked Perdue why Parnas, an associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiMichigan voter fraud hearing goes viral for alleged flatulence, unruly witness Trump hits Barr over voter fraud remarks: 'He hasn't looked' Trump pardon scandal would doom his 2024 campaign MORE, should not testify “under oath” in the upper chamber. 

Perdue responded that any Parnas testimony would be “secondhand information.”

“This is a distraction,” Perdue said. “This a person that’s been indicted. Right now, he's out on bail. He’s been meeting with the House [Intelligence] Committee. If the House felt like this information was pertinent, I would think they would have included him.”

“How is it secondhand?” Todd asked. “He was in Ukraine. He was doing the bidding,” adding that Parnas seems to hold “material evidence that might be helpful in connecting some dots.”

 

"Well, that’s the deal he’s trying to make to get his sentence reduced," Perdue said. "I'm not sure he does at all personally."

The Georgia senator also denied that Parnas was close to the president, citing Trump’s claims that he didn’t know Parnas. When Todd asked about Giuliani bringing Parnas closer to the president, Perdue said Trump’s personal lawyer was “trying to get access to the government of the Ukraine.”

“And that was one way to do it,” he said.

Parnas made a slew of new accusations against Trump and his administration in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowQuarantined Maddow shares story of partner who is fighting COVID-19: 'Don't get this thing' The tribal journalism of cable news is at a crossroads MSNBC's Joy Reid: Close presidential race shows 'great amount of racism and anti blackness' in US MORE on Wednesday, saying the president knew about Giuliani’s pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE.

Parnas’s interview came after evidence he supplied to the House was released, revealing his communications with Giuliani.

The House impeachment inquiry began after a whistleblower report detailed Trump asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden in a July phone call, days after U.S. military aid was withheld from the country. The Senate trial is set to begin this week after the House sent two articles of impeachment to the upper chamber.