CNN The Lead host Jake Tapper on Thursday criticized Democrats for touting evidence brought forth by indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, reminding viewers that the former Trump supporter has a “serious credibility problem.”
“We can’t ignore Parnas has a serious credibility problem,” Tapper said during a panel discussion on Parnas. “He’s under indictment for campaign finance charges. The foreign minister of Ukraine told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he doesn’t trust a word Parnas is saying. And yet I see people out there on social media — Democrats — acting as if this guy is the second coming of Theodore Roosevelt or something.”
CNN reporter Nia Malika-Henderson agreed with Tapper’s assessment, saying: “It’s true, and all of those reasons are why maybe people should want him to testify under oath.”
“Kellyanne Conway, for instance, says when he’s talking in a television studio he isn’t under oath, but there actually is a way to get him under oath if anyone is interested in vetting his claims,” she added. “It’s not clear at this point that Republicans are interested in hearing his claims.”
Parnas and Igor Fruman — both Soviet-born businessmen — were arrested on October 9, 2019, and charged with planning to direct money from a foreign government to American politicians as part of an effort to “influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.” Parnas claims he was part of a shadow effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to look into allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Appearing Wednesday on MSNBC’s Maddow, he alleged President Trump “knew exactly what was going on,” regarding his activities in Ukraine.
“He was aware of all of my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president,” he told host Rachel Maddow.
Though Democrats are now using Parnas’ remarks to try pressuring Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) into allowing additional witnesses in the upper chamber’s impeachment trial, top Democrats such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) appear weary to treat him seriously.
“I don’t want to make any judgments about his credibility, or others, until we have the opportunity to flesh that out,” Schiff said of Parnas in a Wednesday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump denied having a personal relationship Parnas and speculated that the businessman is now criticizing him in an attempt to get himself out of legal hot water.
“I don’t know Parnas other than I guess I had pictures taken – which I do with thousands of people, including people today,” the president told reporters at the White House.
“He’s trying to probably to make a deal for himself. I don’t even know who this man is,” he added.