The House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly played a key role in assisting him in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
The material submitted to the committee includes audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump. It was unclear what the content depicts and the committees only began accessing the material last week.
"We have subpoenaed Mr. Parnas and Mr. [Igor] Fruman for their records. We would like them to fully comply with those subpoenas," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN Sunday, with a committee spokesperson adding they would not elaborate beyond the chairman's comments.
An attorney for Parnas, Joseph A. Bondy, also declined to comment, directing ABC News to a statement released earlier in the day Sunday reading in part, "Mr. Parnas has vociferously and publicly asserted his wish to comply with his previously issued subpoena and to provide the House Intelligence Committee with truthful and important information that is in furtherance of justice, not to obstruct it."
The statement goes on to say, "His evidence and potential testimony is non-partisan, and not intended to be part of a battle between the left and the right, but rather an aid in the determination by our government of what is in the best interests of our nation."
Sources tell ABC News the tapes were provided as part of that congressional subpoena issued to Parnas, and the former Giuliani ally also provided a number of documents both in English and Ukrainian to the committee in two separate productions, sources told ABC News.
However, some of the material sought by congressional investigators is already in possession of federal investigators within the Southern District of New York and thus held up from being turned over, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Have a great Thanksgiving, Rudy.
This time next year you'll be eating prison mashed potatoes.
The other big revelation today is that we know the White House absolutely covered up Trump's decision to extort Ukraine's government by blocking military aid to Kiev, and we know because they did such a horrendous job of hiding their tracks.
A confidential White House review of President Trump’s decision to place a hold on military aid to Ukraine has turned up hundreds of documents that reveal extensive efforts to generate an after-the-fact justification for the decision and a debate over whether the delay was legal, according to three people familiar with the records.
The research by the White House Counsel’s Office, which was triggered by a congressional impeachment inquiry announced in September, includes early August email exchanges between acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House budget officials seeking to provide an explanation for withholding the funds after the president had already ordered a hold in mid-July on the nearly $400 million in security assistance, according to the three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.
One person briefed on the records examination said White House lawyers are expressing concern that the review has turned up some unflattering exchanges and facts that could at a minimum embarrass the president. It’s unclear whether the Mulvaney discussions or other records pose any legal problems for Trump in the impeachment inquiry, but some fear they could pose political problems if revealed publicly.
People familiar with the Office of Management and Budget’s handling of the holdup in aid acknowledged the internal discussions going on during August, but characterized the conversations as calm, routine and focused on the legal question of how to comply with the congressional Budget and Impoundment Act, which requires the executive branch to spend congressionally appropriated funds unless Congress agrees they can be rescinded.
“There was a legal consensus at every step of the way that the money could be withheld to conduct the policy review,” said OMB spokeswoman Rachel K. Semmel. “OMB works closely with agencies on executing the budget. Routine practices and procedures were followed, not scrambling.”
The hold on the military aid is at the heart of House Democrats’ investigation into whether the president should be removed from office for allegedly trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals in exchange for the U.S. support that President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately wanted in the face of Russian military aggression.
In the early August email exchanges, Mulvaney asked acting OMB director Russell Vought for an update on the legal rationale for withholding the aid and how much longer it could be delayed. Trump had made the decision the prior month without an assessment of the reasoning or legal justification, according to two White House officials. Emails show Vought and OMB staffers arguing that withholding aid was legal, while officials at the National Security Council and State Department protested. OMB lawyers said that it was legal to withhold the aid, as long as they deemed it a “temporary” hold, according to people familiar with the review.
A senior budget lawyer crafted a memo on July 25 that defended the hold for at least a short period of time, an administration official said.
Mulvaney’s request for information came days after the White House Counsel’s Office was put on notice that an anonymous CIA official had made a complaint to the agency’s general counsel about Trump’s July 25 call to Zelensky during which he requested Ukraine investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as an unfounded theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
This official would later file a whistleblower complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general, which ignited the impeachment push when its existence became public.
The White House released the funding to Ukraine on Sept. 11. The timing has drawn scrutiny because it came two days after the House was formally alerted to a whistleblower complaint, who raised concerns about the call and whether the president was using his public office for personal political gain.
We knew all this before from the extensive testimony over the last two weeks, as well as the stories that I've covered here in this blog on Ukraine and the Trump regime's extortion.
This however is coming from Mick Mulvaney, or sources close to him. This is coming from the White House side. This is Mulvaney, who used to run the Office of Management and Budget before he became acting WH chief of staff, covering for his old agency and his friends there.
And this is Mulvaney leaking that he's not going to go down for this, anticipating the dagger in the back from Trump himself. Note the phrase "It’s unclear whether the Mulvaney discussions or other records pose any legal problems for Trump in the impeachment inquiry, but some fear they could pose political problems if revealed publicly" right there in the lead paragraph.
This is Mulvaney setting down a marker. You'd think Mulvaney would be forced to testify over this, but of course he won't be. It doesn't mean he can't hurt Trump.
Like I said, gonna be a real interesting Thanksgiving for Donny this week.