Jan 19, 2020

Sen. Cornyn: There have been a "series of grifters" associated with Trump campaign

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday dismissed new impeachment evidence obtained from Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, stating that there is "no question that there have been a series of grifters" who have associated themselves with the Trump campaign.

The exchange:

BRENNAN: "Doesn't it trouble you that [Parnas] was working so closely with Rudy Giuliani, who was acting on the president's behalf and saying he was acting on the president's behalf?"
CORNYN: "Well, there is no question that there have been a series of grifters and other hangers-on that have associated themselves with the president's campaign or claim to have special relationships with the president, but this is not the issue that the Senate is going to be deciding."

Why it matters: Parnas has claimed that the campaign to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens was carried out with President Trump's consent and awareness. "President Trump knew exactly what was going on," Parnas told MSNBC last week.

Yes, but: Many have questioned whether Parnas is a reliable narrator because he's been indicted for violating federal campaign-finance laws.

  • Cornyn criticized Democrats for wanting to "rest their case" on someone "under indictment in the Southern District of New York with extensive ties to Russian oligarchs and organized crime."

The big picture: At least five former Trump campaign advisers or associates have been convicted or pleaded guilty to various crimes in the last three years.

  • Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, is reportedly under investigation for his business dealings, including his activities in Ukraine.

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Rudy Giuliani ditches Lev Parnas: "I still feel sorry for him"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle" on Monday and tried to distance himself from close associate Lev Parnas.

Why it matters: Parnas in recent interviews has claimed that he helped carry out a campaign to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens with Trump's consent and awareness.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020

Lev Parnas asks Bill Barr to recuse himself from his case

Lev Parnas arrives with his wife, Svetlana Parnas, at federal court on Dec. 2 in New York City. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Lawyers for Lev Parnas, an associate of President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, filed a request in a New York federal court Monday for Attorney General Bill Barr to recuse himself from overseeing his criminal case.

Details: Parnas, who is facing campaign finance charges, claimed there were conflicts of interest, as he said it's in "the public interest to remove this matter entirely from the Department of Justice." Axios has contacted the DOJ for comment.

Lawyer alleges Giuliani associate recorded Trump comments on Ukrainian ambassador

Photo: Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The lawyer for Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate, claims there is a recording of President Trump saying former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch should be fired, the Daily Beast reports.

The latest: Parnas said on Friday that he has turned the recording over to the House Intelligence Committee, per the New York Times — as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) led House Democrats in laying out the case for impeaching Trump before the Senate.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 25, 2020