After attending a private dinner last year with President Trump, Lev Parnas told associates that he personally discussed Ukraine with Trump, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.
This is the first indication that Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, directly interacted with Trump about Ukraine, the Post notes. During the dinner, held for major donors to a pro-Trump Super PAC, Parnas shared with Trump he believed then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was hostile to the president and his interests, the Post reports. Parnas told associates that immediately, Trump suggested Yovanovitch should be fired.
Parnas and Fruman later began working with Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to dig up on dirt on Democrats in Ukraine, and a former senior administration official told the Post Giuliani regularly shared with Trump information he received from the pair. "It's just not true that he had no idea who these guys were," the official said. "He knew Lev particularly."
Trump has said he does not know Parnas or Fruman, and it's "possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody." Last month, Parnas and Fruman were arrested and charged with funneling foreign money into U.S. campaigns. For more on the Parnas-Trump connection and Giuliani's role in the whole matter, visit The Washington Post.