During a Thursday interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas claimed that Donald Trump and Giuliani had him carry out the pressure campaign on Ukraine with the goal of securing investigations into Joe Biden. But like many of Trump’s allies, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham now says Parnas cannot be trusted.
Appearing on Fox News Thursday night, Graham suggested that nothing Parnas said diverged much from what is already known about the accusations against Trump, Newsweek reports.
“The new evidence is no different than the old evidence,” Graham said.
“This Parnas guy is facing indictment. He’s been dripping out to the House Intel Committee batches of information, crescendoing to the week we start the trial.”
Graham called Parnas a “rat” who is “crooked as a snake,” echoing his GOP colleagues who have also attacked Parnas’ credibility.
CNN’s Jake Tapper has also expressed skepticism at Parnas’ credibility. He noted that Democrats should be cautious about relying on his claims and suggested they are giving him too much benefit of the doubt, Fox News reported.
“We can’t ignore — Parnas has a serious credibility problem. He’s under indictment for campaign finance charges. The foreign minister of Ukraine told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he doesn’t trust a word Parnas is saying.”
Regardless, the State of the Union moderator implied noted that Parnas’ claims are somewhat supported by the transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked the impeachment inquiry and the president’s subsequent impeachment.
“It’s just the specific references to ‘Pence knew, Barr knew, Trump knew.’ How would he know?” Tapper asked.
"All I can say is that the impeachment articles are a danger to the Presidency. The way they impeach The President is un-American. This trial will end in a matter of days, not weeks. And he’s going to be acquitted. -@LindseyGrahamSC pic.twitter.com/ci5OtdQoht— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) January 12, 2020
Trump denied knowing Parnas after the explosive MSNBC interview. But on Wednesday, Parnas and his lawyer released two video montages that showed multiple photos of Parnas with Trump. The pair of videos also showed the Giuliani associate with Trump’s two older sons, Eric and Donald Jr., as well as the president’s son-in-law and daughter, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
The Parnas interview comes as the Senate impeachment trial is set to begin next week. Despite Democrats pointing to Parnas’ interview with hope that it could shift the outcome of the trial, Republicans appear decided on voting against impeachment. According to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, it’s not likely that any member of the GOP will vote to impeach Trump. The president has also claimed he would use executive privilege to block any testimonies should Democrats try to call any witnesses.