Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a radio interview on Friday that he never met indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. Pompeo also said that possible surveillance of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was not something he had heard about.
Speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Pompeo distanced himself from both Parnas and the alleged Yovanovitch surveillance efforts after Parnas released documents that he claimed showed that Trump and other members of his administration knew about efforts to get Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
“Never met him,” Pompeo responded when Hewitt asked whether he knew Parnas.
When Hewitt asked whether he was aware before the accusations from Parnas that then-Ambassador Yovanovitch was allegedly being surveilled by private citizens associated with Giuliani while serving as an ambassador, Pompeo said, “Yeah, never heard about this at all, Hugh.”
Documents don’t show direct knowledge or involvement
Parnas, who was indicted in October for campaign finance violations, released the documents one day before House Democrats voted to send articles of impeachment to the Senate.
While the documents show discussions between Giuliani and Parnas about getting Ukraine to announce investigations, there is no evidence in the documents that this was communicated to Trump.
Similarly, Parnas claimed that Giuliani delivered a packet of information to Pompeo in March about possible surveillance of Yovanovitch by private citizens. However, a source close to Pompeo said that the secretary of state never promised he would look into anything related to Ukraine.
Pompeo did say after learning about the possible surveillance in recent days that he would now investigate it. “I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate,” Pompeo said on conservative pundit Tony Katz’s Today radio show. “Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.”
More lies about Trump?
Once again, Parnas’ claims don’t amount to any evidence that Trump had direct knowledge of the events he describes. Instead, we have gotten more secondhand allegations that don’t amount to anything substantial or substantiated.
The most Parnas can do is re-ignite claims by Democrats that they need more witnesses to testify at the Senate impeachment trial to see if the allegations are true.
Parnas has a lot of reasons to lie right now, and we don’t know if he could have been promised an easier sentence when his case goes to trial if he comes out against Trump. These possibilities make his allegations harder to believe, especially when many of them rest on hearsay and secondhand information.