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 ToddTrailing Democrats tout strength with black voters ahead of South Carolina Clyburn says Democrats spent 'too much time on Bloomberg' in Nevada debate The Democratic nominee won't be democratically chosen 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 TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn Former US ambassador Yovanovitch lands a book deal: report Kerry responds to Trump accusation he violated Logan Act: 'Another presidential lie' 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 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 on Wednesday, saying the president knew about Giuliani’s pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg campaign claims 'irregularities' in Nevada caucuses Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll 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.