Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said Trump was directly involved in attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government.
In an appearance on Fox News Thursday morning, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway refused to deny allegations from indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas that Donald Trump "knew exactly what was going on" with efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals. Trump has previously denied any knowledge of Lev Parnas.
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, Parnas said he communicated directly with Ukraine's government on behalf of Trump, under orders from Giuliani. Parnas said he told the incoming Ukrainian government that aid would be withheld and no U.S. officials would attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy if they didn't proceed with the investigation into the Bidens that Trump ordered.
Speaking to the conservative outlet Fox News on Thursday, Conway would not refute Parnas' claims. Instead, Conway complained that his account was suspect because "people who go on TV are never under oath."
"Are you saying, flat-out, 100% what he alleges is not true? Yes or no," asked host Bill Hemmer.
Conway would not directly respond to the query.
"When Lev Parnas says the president knew all of my moves, he gave consent — objection, you cannot say what somebody else knew or thought. You can't do that," Conway replied. "That was a TV show, not a court of law."
"He's been indicted," Conway noted, citing the legal action as a reason to disbelieve Parnas' statements.
Parnas was indicted and charged in October of 2019 for his role in a scheme where thousands of dollars were donated to the pro-Trump PAC America First Action in what prosecutors said was an attempt to "circumvent the federal laws against foreign interference by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and State office."
Conway tried to filibuster by reciting a pro-Trump version of ongoing investigations into the administration, but was interrupted by Hemmer, who again tried to get her to directly refute Parnas' claims.
"Is he lying or not, Kellyanne?"
"Well he's a proven liar, he's been indicted," she responded, portraying the legal proceedings against Parnas as if he had been indicted for lying under oath like former administration official Michael Flynn.
Conway continued her filibuster, only to be interrupted by Fox's Sandra Smith.
"It's a yes or no question. Trump knew exactly what was going on said Lev Parnas and we're asking, is that statement true or false?"
Given a third opportunity, Conway again declined to give a yes or no response.
"Trump knew what was going on how?" asked Conway. "In other words, what is Lev Parnas actually saying? He's saying, 'the president knew all of my moves, I wouldn't have done it without consent of the president.' Where did he get consent of the president to do that?"
Conway's rhetorical question never addressed the hosts' direct questions about Parnas' serious allegations about Trump.
Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives for his abuse of power in pressuring Ukraine to help him with his reelection bid and for his attempts to obstruct the impeachment investigation. A trial is the Senate is set for next week.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.