Democrats release more Parnas evidence, including voicemails with Trump associates

By Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio

House impeachment investigators released a new set of evidence that was obtained from Lev Parnas, an indicted former associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani — including voicemails, photos, and text messages between Parnas and high-level figures within Trump’s orbit.

The material includes voicemail messages Parnas received from Giuliani and Victoria Toensing, a prominent Trump-aligned lawyer, both of whom have been identified as players in an effort to force the removal of the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during the spring.

“Hey Lev. VT here. We’ve got a request to talk to the big one,” Toensing said in the April 23, 2019, voicemail message. “So I just wanted to get the latest from you, if I could. I know it’s late there. I’m sorry.”

The timing of the Toensing voicemail coincides with a flurry of activity involving Yovanovitch’s ouster. On April 23, Giuliani tweeted that Ukraine was investigating 2016 election interference, and Trump recalled Yovanovitch from Ukraine on April 24.

The previously undisclosed documents, released late Tuesday night but not publicly noticed, were posted ahead of the House formally sending its impeachment articles to the Senate, underscore the evolving nature of an investigation that House Democrats say is ongoing — and was stifled in its early stages by Trump’s refusal to allow his aides and associates to comply with congressional subpoenas.

Parnas was subpoenaed as part of the impeachment inquiry last year, but he initially refused to comply. He was arrested in October and indicted on campaign-finance charges. A federal judge authorized Parnas earlier this month to begin turning over documents and other information to the House Intelligence Committee, which led the impeachment inquiry.

House Democrats have been racing to include new information onto its investigative record, which is a prerequisite for using the materials during the Senate’s trial, which is expected to formally begin on Thursday.

The documents also include several photos of Parnas with members of Trump’s family and his administration — including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions — further highlighting Parnas’ ties and access to the president and members of his inner circle.

In one newly disclosed text exchange from May, just days before Yovanovitch’s removal, Parnas sent a smiling selfie to an official at the Trump-affiliated America First Action PAC in which he is wearing a flak jacket and suggests he's going to a "meeting."

“Jesus,” the official, Joseph Ahearn, replied. “Be safe.”

Among the newly released documents is a text message from Giuliani to Parnas, in which the former New York City mayor says he wants Parnas to get a message to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “stop acting like a boy” and arrest a Ukrainian oligarch who was under investigation.

Other documents provided by Parnas, which were released earlier on Tuesday, included evidence that Trump personally signed off on his former counsel’s request to represent Parnas and another indicted Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman.