An associate of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTrump knocks testimony from ‘Never Trumpers’ at Louisiana rally Jordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery ‘ridiculous’ Giuliani under investigation for alleged campaign finance, lobbying breaches: report MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE’s personal attorney, told confidants that he was on a “secret mission” for the president.
After meeting with Trump at the White House in December, Lev Parnas reportedly insinuated to associates that the president had given him a special assignment, like some sort of “James Bond mission,” one of his confidants told CNN.
“Parnas viewed the assignment as a great crusade,” one of the people to whom Parnas spoke told CNN. “He believed he was doing the right thing for Trump.”
Parnas believed that he would carry out Trump’s directives, as dictated through Giuliani, to help advance the president’s interests in Ukraine.
Giuliani’s lawyer denied to CNN that a December meeting took place at the White House, adding that Parnas is “no Sean Connery” and suffers from “delusions of grandeur.”
“Mr. Parnas at all times believed that he was acting only on behalf of the President, as directed by his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and never on behalf of any Ukrainian officials,” Parnas’s attorney told CNN.
Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, have been thrust to the heart of the House’s impeachment investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
The two were allegedly involved in a shadow campaign to help oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchLive coverage: Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies in public impeachment hearing Ex-Trump Russia expert told lawmakers she’s gotten death threats Giuliani lawyers up amid impeachment inquiry MORE, whom they viewed as an obstacle they needed to remove in order to pave the way for Giuliani’s push for politically beneficial investigations by Kyiv.
People who encountered the men indicate that the two had interacted with Trump both before and after they met Giuliani in the summer of 2018.
Parnas and Fruman were indicted in connection with an alleged campaign finance fraud scheme in which they planned to use a shell company to donate money to a pro-Trump election committee. Parnas has indicated that he will cooperate with the House’s impeachment investigation.