Lev Parnas’ lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, released a video showing footage of Trump asking for then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to be fired.
The video also reveals just how easy it is to manipulate Trump with lies, by appealing to his hatred of the Clintons and his fear of impeachment.
“Get rid of her,” he said in the video to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two men who Trump has claimed to have never spoken to before. The audio clearly plays, even though the camera does not capture many visuals other than the ceiling. Parnas and Fruman tell Trump that they are in the process of purchasing “an energy company in Ukraine right now.”
“How’s Ukraine doing?” Trump asked. “Don’t answer,” he quickly followed. Parnas told Trump that the ambassador was supposedly causing trouble. “The biggest problem there, I think, where we, where you, need to start is we got to get rid of the ambassador. She’s still leftover from the Clinton administration,” he stated. “She’s basically walking around telling everybody, ‘Wait, he’s going to get impeached, just wait.’ ”
As ABC News noted, “Yovanovitch actually had served in the State Department since the Reagan administration.” Similarly, there is no evidence that Yovanovitch said anything like that about impeachment, and in fact she said her removal was driven by “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives” claiming she was disloyal.
But the lies had the desired effect in manipulating Trump.
The president responded, “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. O.K.? Do it.”
Yovanovitch was fired a year later after this conversation took place.
Another part of the conversation included a discussion of Ukraine and the Clintons. “Ukraine has oil?” Trump is heard asking those at the dinner. When someone told him yes, he asked “Why aren’t companies going in? Too risky?”
Another diner answered, “Exactly. They were supporting Clintons for all these years.”
Again, just as Putin has proven it is easy to manipulate Trump into pushing Russian propaganda, it turns out it’s easy for even a Rudy crony like Lev Parnas.