Ed MacMahon, a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who faces charges of campaign finance violations, has told the Daily Beast that his client helped Republican Rep. Devin Nunes arrange meetings meant to advance the Ukrainian investigations into the Biden family that are at the center of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Now, another lawyer for Parnas — Joseph A. Bondy — has told CNN that Parnas is willing to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about Nunes’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal.
Nunes has argued the impeachment inquiry is a partisan attack on the president; he tried to derail the proceedings by introducing (disproved) conspiracy theories, worked to out an anonymous whistleblower whose complaint launched the inquiry, and repeatedly referred to the inquiry as a “drug deal.”
Parnas has said his efforts, as described in the Daily Beast article, bore fruit — and that Nunes eventually met with with disgraced former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in Vienna in December 2018.
Congressional records show that Nunes and members of his staff travelled to Europe in late November and early December 2018. The records do not specify whether he went to Vienna, however, or who he met with.
“I can confirm that Victor Shokin told Lev Parnas that he had met with Nunes in Vienna in late 2018, and that [Nunes aide] Derek Harvey informed that they were investigating the activities of Joe and Hunter Biden related to Burisma,” Bondy told NBC News.
Shokin was pushed out of his role by the US and its allies in March 2016 over concerns he was not properly pursuing anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.
This meeting would suggest that efforts to discredit the Bidens were well underway before Giuliani began to publicly discuss them this spring, and that attempts to launch some sort of investigation into the Biden family went beyond executive branch officials.
It could also lead to Nunes facing his second ethics investigation in less than three years.
Parnas also claims to have met with Nunes and his aides personally in Vienna, and that he and Nunes spoke on the phone at least twice following that in-person meeting. Parnas says he continued to occasionally meet with Harvey at the Trump hotel in Washington, DC, where they discussed investigations into the Biden family and a Democratic National Committee server that a disproved conspiracy theory holds contains information of Ukrainian election meddling to benefit Democrats in the 2016 elections.
Parnas claims to have told Nunes that the basis for his suspicions about the Bidens came from the writings of John Solomon, who, as Vox’s Jane Coaston has explained, published columns in The Hill regarding what are now known to be conspiracies theories about the Bidens and Ukraine. Harvey would occasionally attend meetings at the Trump hotel that included Solomon, Parnas claims, as well as Giuliani.
It is not clear whether Parnas will be called to testify himself, although Bondy has asked [Chairman Adam] Schiff to subpoena him.
It also is not clear whether Parnas would be viewed as a credible witness.
But despite the allegations he faces, it does appear that Parnas may have knowledge of an early anti-Biden campaign that extends beyond Giuliani, the “three amigos,” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — now involving a key member of Congress. For instance, he and a business partner reportedly tried to pressure Ukraine’s last president into starting a Biden investigation, and he’s reportedly told people Trump had personally given him a “secret mission” to carry out in Ukraine.