[Screenshot from Fox News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkpsKSyeRL4]
When it comes to words as fists, 2011-2019 South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy knows how to pack a punch.
And this week, he appeared on Fox News to talk about that Who’s Who of impending governmental sure things: the impeachment trial in the Senate.
[I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, but the Republican majority is gonna side with the President.]
During the segment, hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith offered up a clip — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow interviewing Lev Parnas.
Who’s Lev? Here are a few excerpts from The Guardian:
A close associate of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, Parnas on Wednesday added to evidence that Trump personally directed an effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate one of his political rivals.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” he said in a televised interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday. “He was aware of all my movements … I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”
Parnas told the New Yorker: “Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy’s assistant, his investigator. I don’t do anything on my own. I don’t lobby people. I go get information. I set up a meeting. I make sure that the call went right. I make sure the translation is done right.”
Documents released this week suggest that Parnas was also involved in monitoring the movements of Marie Yovanovitch, who was ambassador to Ukraine until Trump abruptly recalled her last May. Ukraine said on Thursday it has launched an investigation into alleged illegal surveillance of Yovanovitch.
And this is what Fox’s clip laid out:
PARNAS: I didn’t feel that they were trying to get me out, and at that point, I had a meeting with John Dowd and [Kevin] Downing inside the jail, and John Dowd just, instead of comforting me and, you know, trying to calm me down, telling me like it’s going to be okay, like don’t worry, basically start[ed] talking to me like a drill sergeant …
MADDOW: Were they telling you to sacrifice yourself in order to protect the President?
PARNAS: That’s what I felt.
The erstwhile congressman had a thing or two to say about that:
“I would encourage your viewers to listen to the entire interview, not just the snippets. Remember, Parnas was upset because he expected Giuliani and Trump to come to his defense. This is a guy charged with falsifying records, making a false statement, conspiracy to defraud the FEC. He’s upset – by the way, John Dowd is not Trump’s former lawyer; that’s not how I would characterize him. He is Parnas’s hand-picked lawyer. That’s who hired John Dowd and Kevin Downing. It was Lev Parnas. So, if he’s upset that he hired these two, he’s got nobody to blame but himself. He wanted Giuliani and Trump to come to his defense in these three charges that he’s facing. That’s why he’s upset. You only get that from watching the entire interview, not from reading the stories and not from listening to that snippet.”
“Was he asked precisely – if he said the President knew exactly what he was doing, has he described what those meetings were about, or conversations were about? Have you heard that yet?”
Former federal prosecutor Trey took an ax to Lev’s reliability:
“You know, Bill, what I didn’t hear was the follow-up. ‘Okay, with total certitude, you say President Trump knew what you were doing. Convince us of that. Give us the evidence.’ Remember — he also said that [Attorney General] Bill Barr was in the loop, and then when cited for evidence, he said, ‘Well, he’s friends with diGenova and Toensing, and his name was mentioned in [the] transcript.’ If that’s the only evidence you have that Bill Barr is part of a conspiracy to defraud the United States and get a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, if the only evidence you have is who he’s friends with and his name was mentioned in the transcript, that ain’t much evidence, Bill. So I need to hear the follow-up questions.”
“Parnas gave three different answers to the same question about Mike Pence. His first answer is, ‘I’m absolutely certain Pence knew about it,’ and then about three seconds later he said, ‘Well, he had to have, right?’ and then the last answer was, ‘Well, it was possible.’ Those three answers don’t do you well in the courtroom. They do great if you’re writing headlines; they do not do well in the courtroom.”
So how’s Lev’s position for an impeachment interview?
Like Lev’s credibility, Trey thinks Pelosi’s standards stink:
“I was stunned at how little it takes in Speaker Pelosi’s eyes to call for special counsel. You have someone who’s under indictment, a Ukrainian under indictment that no one would have believed six months ago, who says that it’s possible that Bill Barr may have been in on it based on the fact that his name was in a transcript – and she’s willing to call for special counsel. I mean, I think the threshold for besmirching someone’s reputation…ought to be a little higher than relying on one of six or seven different answers that Lev Parnas gave to the same question in an MSNBC interview.”
Trey also thinks it’s quite the rabbit hole:
“If you’re going to make Lev Parnas the center of your impeachment prosecution, then you’re also opening yourself to having to call the hundreds of witnesses who have an opinion on his veracity and credibility. … So now we’re up to what? Twenty-something witnesses? … So now this six week trial is a six month trial.”
And doesn’t that sound great — a six month trial? Will impeachment become the new Mueller investigation? Will it never end?
As announced via C-SPAN last month, even if it comes to a close, we’ve got devoted anti-Trump swordsman Rep. Al Green ready to put the needle back on the record.
Play it again, Samurai:
“There is no limit on the number of times the Senate can vote to convict or not a President, no limit to the number of times the House can vote to impeach or not a president. So, my belief is that the speaker will probably say we’re going to move forward with what we have now, but we’re not going to end investigations and that there may be possible opportunities to do other things at a later time.”
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