President Trump denied knowing about a May 2019 letter from his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani requesting a private meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, despite Giuliani claiming that he was reaching out with Trump's "knowledge and consent."

Why it matters: The letter, released by the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, says that Giuliani was acting at the express direction of the president when carrying out a campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

  • "I don't know anything about the letter, but certainly Rudy is one of the great crimefighters in the history of our country," Trump said. "I didn't know about the specific letter, but if he wrote a letter it wouldn't have been a big deal."

The big picture: Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate who has been indicted on campaign finance charges, alleged in an explosive MSNBC interview Wednesday that Trump was fully aware of and authorized Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine.

  • Trump told reporters that he does not know Parnas, suggesting he was simply one of the thousands of people with whom he's taken pictures at fundraisers.
  • Parnas claimed on MSNBC that Trump is lying about not knowing him and that while he wouldn't consider them "friends," he and the president interacted on numerous occasions at roundtables and fundraising events.

What to watch: Parnas said Wednesday that not all of the records he intends to hand over to the House Intelligence Committee have been released yet. He has signaled that he wants to testify in the impeachment trial, but it's not clear whether the Senate will vote to call him as a witness — especially given that he is under indictment and may not be a reliable narrator.

Read the letter:

Go deeper ... Lev Parnas: "Trump knew exactly what was going on" in Ukraine

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Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the "Proud Boys" are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded: "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."