Lev Parnas, Key Player in Ukraine Affair, Completes Break With Trump and Giuliani

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During the interview with The Times, as well as in a taped interview Mr. Parnas gave on Wednesday to the MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Mr. Parnas emphasized that he was always acting on behalf of Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani.

When asked by The Times how he knew that Mr. Trump was aware of the pressure campaign, he said that Mr. Giuliani assured him that was the case.

Before taking his first trip to Ukraine in February 2019, Mr. Parnas said that he met with Mr. Giuliani at the Grand Havana Room, a smoke-filled private club high above Midtown Manhattan, and relayed a concern that he and an associate, Igor Fruman, lacked the diplomatic credentials to carry out their task. Mr. Parnas said he proposed that the president designate them “special envoys” to ensure their safety and access.

Then, Mr. Parnas said, Mr. Giuliani walked away to call Mr. Trump, and returned with a new plan: He would represent Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, as well as the president, a move that might afford their shared mission the confidentiality of attorney-client privilege. Mr. Giuliani has denied Mr. Parnas’s account.

Days later, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman embarked for Eastern Europe.

Upon his return, Mr. Parnas began working with influential conservatives to disseminate the information and claims he helped collect from Ukraine. The materials released Wednesday also show him maintaining regular communication with Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor at the time, who was advocating the removal of the United States ambassador in Kyiv and was promising help in getting information about Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

By late March, as the claims began to circulate widely in the pro-Trump conservative news media, Mr. Parnas texted an associate, “I’m officially part of team trump,” according to the records released Wednesday.

In addition to the text messages, Mr. Parnas, who was indicted in October on campaign finance charges, provided Democrats in the House with voice mail messages left on his phone by Mr. Giuliani and another lawyer who worked on the Ukraine effort, emails, calendar entries and a bevy of photographs of Mr. Parnas with Trump allies.