Updated Jan 25, 2020

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.

What they're saying: Parnas' lawyer Joseph Bondy told The Daily Beast that Parnas' former business partner, Igor Fruman, recorded the exchange. The two men were arrested in October on campaign finance charges. Bondy said the recording “is of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry," per the Times.

  • White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham: "Every president in our history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within his administration."
  • Bondy: "Last year, before he was arrested, Mr. Parnas personally heard a recording of his April 30, 2018, dinner with the president and others, made by Mr. Fruman, at which the subject of Ambassador Yovanovitch was discussed. We have hoped that, to the extent this recording still existed, it would be released to Congress for use in the impeachment trial.” 
  • Fruman's lawyer could not be reached for comment by Axios, but he told the Daily Beast they are not at liberty to discuss the matter.

Worth noting: ABC News originally reported on Friday it reviewed the recording, which Axios has neither obtained nor reviewed.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Reports: Marie Yovanovitch has retired from the State Department

Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has retired from the State Department, NPR first reported. The career diplomat remained on payroll since she was ousted from the department last year, per NPR.

Why it matters: During her closed-door deposition before House impeachment committees, Yovanovitch testified that President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani led the smear campaign that led to her firing. Her ouster and testimony were key events leading to Trump's impeachment in the House.

State Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper: First casualty of impeachment war

Former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch signs book deal

Marie Yovanovitch. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has signed a book deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher told AP on Friday.

Details: The untitled memoir will detail the experiences of the career diplomat from Somalia to Kyiv before she returned to Washington, D.C.

Impeachment aftershocks: GOP considers Biden, Ukraine probes

Photo: Senate TV via AP

President Trump has been acquitted, but now Democrats — and Republicans — are seriously considering returning to battle over Ukraine with new waves of document and witness subpoenas.

What we're hearing: Many House Democrats want to pick up where the White House stonewalled them during impeachment. That could include renewed moves to seek John Bolton's testimony if he doesn't go public soon, while several Senate Republicans are contemplating investigations of Burisma, the Bidens and more.