Updated Mar 19, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Democrats pick former Giuliani associate for Hunter Biden hearing

Lev Parnas, wearing a dark blue suit, light purple shirt and purple tie, speaks into microphones while flanked by his lawyers in front of a white marble courthouse.

Lev Parnas. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.

House Democrats are inviting former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to be their witness at the Republican-led House Oversight Committee's Hunter Biden hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Democrats are trying to parry Republicans' efforts to undermine President Biden through flashy hearings by turning them around and going after former President Trump.

Driving the news: Parnas will "be able to share firsthand evidence about Donald Trump and Republicans' efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden," a Democratic committee source told Axios.

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the panel, said in a statement, "Who better than Lev Parnas himself—Rudy Giuliani's right-hand man on the original mission to smear Joe Biden—to tell the story of how this campaign of lies and slander works?"
  • Parnas, he said, "can debunk the bogus claims at the heart of the impeachment probe and, in the process, explain how the GOP ended up in this degraded and embarrassing place."
  • The invitation was first reported by CNN.

State of play: Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman, was deeply involved in Giuliani's campaign to pressure Ukraine to provide damaging information about Biden in advance of the 2020 election.

  • He was convicted in 2022 of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns and released from prison last September.
  • Parnas has emerged as a critic of the GOP's Hunter Biden probe, which covers many of the same allegations Giuliani tried to prove.
  • Parnas wrote to Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) last year, urging him to "abandon" his "wild goose chase."

The other side: Ted Goodman, political advisor to Giuliani, said in an emailed statement that Parnas "was sentenced to prison for serious crimes, including wire fraud and making false statements."

  • The U.S. attorney's office "refused to use Parnas as a witness because he is a confirmed liar on the very subject matter that partisan Democrats are now calling on him to testify about," Goodman said.
  • "Parnas is desperate to generate headlines in order to sell his book, and Democrats on Capitol Hill are using him to protect the Bidens," Goodman added, suggesting that Democrats were using him.

A GOP committee spokesperson said in a statement: "It's telling the Democrats didn't call any of Hunter Biden's business associates who claim his father's innocence because they know their testimony won't withstand public scrutiny.

  • "Instead, they are relying on a convicted liar who claims Joe Biden never met with a Burisma official when in fact he dined with one."

What's next: The hearing is scheduled Wednesday morning, with former Hunter Biden associates Tony Bobulinski and Jason Galanis scheduled to testify.

  • Hunter Biden himself declined a request to testify, and his attorney blasted the hearing as a "carnival side show" in a letter to the panel.
  • Republicans have taken steps to allow Galanis, currently serving prison time on fraud charges, to testify from his prison in Alabama.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a statement from Goodman.

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