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Ex-Giuliani Ally Accuses Donald Trump of Working With Russia: ‘Blatant’

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An ex-associate of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, accused former President Donald Trump on Saturday of working with Russia, stating that “it’s blatant.”

Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman, worked with Giuliani when the former attorney for Trump attempted to find information on the Biden family. Parnas, meanwhile, was convicted in 2021 of fraud and campaign finance crimes and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

As Trump continues his 2024 reelection campaign, his team is reportedly in discussions with Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign chairman, to potentially help with the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July, according to CNN.

Manafort was found to have committed financial fraud in 2019 as those convictions were obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigated Manafort’s alleged collusion with the Russian government in 2016.

Mueller’s 448-page report released in 2019 revealed the findings of the two-year investigation that looked into whether members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. The probe also focused on Manafort’s work for Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs while he was Trump’s campaign chairman. The probe did not uncover collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Although Manafort’s crimes did not relate directly to his work with the former president, he was pardoned by Trump in 2020. It is currently unclear in what capacity Trump may want to bring Manafort on during the 2024 campaign.

On Saturday, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer turned staunch critic, shared a YouTube video of his podcast Mea Culpa to X, formerly Twitter, in which Parnas was a guest.

During the podcast episode, Cohen asked him, “Would you say Trump either has worked or is currently working with the Russians to sow more misinformation, disinformation, malinformation?”

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump is seen on March 25 in New York City. An ex-associate of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, accused Trump on Saturday of working with Russia, stating that “it’s blatant.”

Andrea Renault/Star Max/GC Images)/Getty Images

Parnas responded that “it’s blatant.”

He added: “They are still pushing the same Russian information…you still have Trump’s inner circle pushing that, not only that, but you now have Paul Manafort coming into the mix. For people who don’t know who Paul Manafort is, that is a direct link into the Kremlin…Just because he spent a year in prison doesn’t mean that those relationships are dead.”

Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s campaign via email for comment. Trump has consistently denied any allegations that he’s tied to Russia and has described such allegations, including Mueller’s investigation, as the “Russia hoax.”

Parnas’ remarks come as he previously pushed back on what he characterized as false claims made by Trump about the Biden family during a House Oversight Committee hearing last week in the GOP-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

“The American people have been lied to by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and various cohorts of individuals in government and media positions,” Parnas said in his testimony. “They created falsehoods to serve their own interests knowing it would undermine the strength of our nation. The only information ever pushed on the Bidens and Ukraine has come from one source and one source only: Russia and Russian agents.”

Meanwhile, this also comes after Trump recently sparked bipartisan backlash after saying he would “encourage” Russia to do “whatever the hell” it wants to members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) who insufficiently contribute financially to the military alliance.

“I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?'” the former president told the crowd. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

In addition, Trump’s growing debt among his legal cases has sparked concern from others that suggest the former president’s debt makes him vulnerable to foreign influence, including Russia.

Last month in an interview on MSNBC’s The Weekend, national security lawyer Mary McCord, who previously served as acting assistant attorney general for national security at the Department of Justice (DOJ), was asked by host Symone Sanders-Townsend if Trump’s financial exposure poses a national security risk.

“Yes, we are talking about how difficult it might be for him to post this near half a billion dollar bond, but he has certainly plenty of people who might want to bail him out on that. Some of those might be foreign, some of those might be Russian oligarchs, some of those might be people right here in the U.S.,” she said.

McCord added that Trump’s fondness of Russian President Vladimir Putin is also cause for concern, saying that there may be other countries that see the possibility of Trump becoming president as a way to earn favors from him.