In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York, lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff likely mischaracterized evidence from former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Nadler last week summarizing evidence put forward by Parnas, who has been indicted for fraud, claiming that Parnas “continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky.” The text message from Parnas to Giuliani reads “trying to get us Mr. Z…” with the rest of the text contained in Schiff’s letter redacted.
Documents reviewed by Politico show that “Mr. Z,” however, probably referred to Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, on whose board Hunter Biden once served while raking in $50,000 a month despite no prior experience in the industry.
Politico reports that “an unredacted version of the exchange shows that several days later, Parnas sent Giuliani a word document that appears to show notes from an interview with Mykola Zlochevsky… followed by a text message to Giuliani that states ‘mr Z answers my brother.’” Therefore, Parnas was likely referring to Zlechevsky, not Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in the exchange.
The newspaper reports that the reviewed documents fail to explicitly state who is asking and answering questions but that the conversation focused on Burisma’s hiring practices, featuring statements such as “we also thought it would help in Ukraine to have strong international board figures,” further indicating that Zlochevsky was the subject of the exchange and not Zelensky.
The revelation comes as the Senate conducts a trial to determine President Donald Trump’s innocence based on articles of impeachment the House passed last month. The House voted largely along party lines to pass one article charging “abuse of power” and one for “obstruction of Congress,” with no Republicans voting in favor and two Democrats defecting from their party to vote in opposition.
Senators began hearing arguments on the rules for the trial Tuesday as Democrats push for the Senate to call new witnesses to testify in the proceedings after the House failed to find incriminating evidence against the president in their rushed investigation.
As of Tuesday night, the Senate has rejected Democratic calls to subpoena acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, a key figure in the administration that Democrats sought to depose last fall.
Whether the Senate will call new witnesses before the upper chamber remains to be seen. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rejected the idea, as House Democrats should have called the witnesses they needed to testify during the initial investigation before voting on the impeachment articles. McConnell is aiming to wrap up the entire impeachment process by the end of next week.