During an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow recently, Lev Parnas, a close associate of Rudy Giuliani — who just so happens to be Donald Trump’s personal attorney — directly implicated the president, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General William Barr as being part of the Ukraine conspiracy. They were, to quote Parnas, “in the loop.”
But what Parnas had to say about Vice President Mike Pence suggests that the VP may well have been the key figure in the Ukraine bribery scandal.
Specifically, Parnas said he made it clear to Ukrainian officials that if they didn’t agree to announce an investigation into the the Bidens (former Veep Joe BIden and his son, Hunter), Pence would not attend the inauguration of newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May of 2019. As NBC News reports:
“Parnas also said Vice President Mike Pence’s planned trip to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May was canceled because the Ukrainians did not agree to the demand for an investigation of the Bidens. ‘Oh, I know 100 percent. It was 100 percent’ he said.
“Asked whether Pence was aware of a ‘quid pro quo’ around the visit, Parnas replied by quoting Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who said during the House impeachment inquiry: “Everybody was in the loop.”
In case you forgot, here’s exactly what Ambassador Sondland said under oath when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee on the matter of what top officials in the administration were aware of the plot to withhold military aid until Ukraine agreed to investigate the Bidens:
“’I mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations. I recall mentioning that before the Zelenskiy meeting,’ Sondland testified. He added that Zelenskiy, during his meeting with Pence, ‘raised the issue of security assistance directly with Vice President Pence’ and that Pence said ‘he would speak to President Trump about it.'”
As you’d expect, the White House says Parnas cannot possibly be trusted, because he’s been indicted for federal election crimes and will do whatever is necessary to save his skin.
But Sondland, a decorated diplomat who worked at the State Department for Mike Pompeo, said the exact same thing, and he did so under oath.
While Pence has repeatedly said he had no idea what was happening with the extortion plot against Ukraine, first-hand witnesses suggest otherwise.
Pence was used as bait to lure the Ukrainians into doing what Trump wanted done regarding an investigation into one of his Democratic opponents, and that makes the vice president just as guilty as the president himself. He’s a co-conspirator because he agreed to be a part of the plot.