President Donald Trump said he doesnt know Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani who has been charged with making illegal donations to politicians.
“I dont know him. I dont know Parnas, other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people,” Trump said at the White House on Thursday. “I dont know him at all. I can only tell you that this thing is a big hoax. This is the current hoax. Weve gone through the Russian witch hunt, weve gone through a lot of them.”
“I dont even know who this man is, other than I guess he attended fundraisers. Im in a room, I take thousands and thousands of pictures with people all the time,” Trump added. “I never had a conversation that I remember with him. I dont know him. Perhaps hes a fine man, perhaps not.”
Trump also said he wasnt aware of a letter penned by Giuliani written to Ukraines President Volodymyr Zelensky. He praised Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, as “the greatest crime fighter.”
“It was very important to Rudy that I be a great president and thats alright with me,” he said.
Giuliani has said he wasnt aware of any wrongdoing committed by Parnas and another associate, Igor Fruman.
Parnas has made a series of allegations against Trump this week and submitted evidence to House Democrats they say bolsters the case to remove Trump from office.
Parnas has said Trump was aware of an alleged scheme by Giuliani to pressure Zelensky into announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for Trump releasing security assistance to Ukraine. Parnas claimed in TV appearances this week that Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, and former national security adviser John Bolton were aware of what was happening, a claim vociferously denied by Pences spokesman and the Department of Justice.
Earlier Thursday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters outside the White House that Parnas is “desperate” after having been indicted.
“I would caution people, its always [that] if theyre against Donald Trump, theyre credible, theyre legitimate. It doesnt matter if theyve been indicted, if theyre about to be indicted, Well put them on TV, well quote them, well give them accolades, attention,'” she said.
“I would just caution against that, because being against Donald Trump doesnt mean you are honest or trustworthy.”