New York Times: Parnas' lawyer says Giuliani told associate to offer Ukraine aid in exchange for Biden investigation

 edition.cnn.com  11/11/2019 01:47:41 

There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by either Joe Biden or his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Giuliani's Soviet-born associates lived lavishly despite questionable finances

Giuliani rebutted Parnas' claim, telling the Times, "Categorically, I did not tell him to say that."

A person familiar with the events told the newspaper the meeting consisted of Parnas, Fruman and Serhiy Shefir, a close aide to Zelensky, drinking coffee at an outdoor cafe days before Zelensky's inauguration.

Fruman, who also attended the meeting, pushed back on Parnas' account. Fruman's lawyer John Dowd told the Times that the men looked only to meet with Zelensky and never brought up the US aid or Pence's presence at the inauguration.

CNN has reached out to Giuliani and representatives for Parnas and Fruman for comment.

Shefir told the Times in a statement that he met with Parnas and Fruman. He noted that Parnas and Fruman did not bring up military aid and had asked for a meeting between Zelensky and Giuliani.

"We did not treat Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman as official representatives, and therefore we did not consider that they could speak on behalf of the U.S. government," Shefir said in a statement to the Times.

In the end, Pence did not attend Zelensky's inauguration -- a move that a whistleblower complaint later asserted came at the direction of Trump. Pence's office told the Times that it had communicated to Ukrainian officials that Pence would not attend a week before the inauguration on May 13. The $400 million in military and security assistance to Ukraine was frozen, though it remains unclear whether that was connected to this alleged threat, and it was released in early September.
Zelensky ultimately seemed amenable to Trump's request for such an investigation into the Bidens, according to the White House's rough transcript of the pair's July 25 phone call. That call has since prompted the House impeachment inquiry into Trump and his dealings with Ukraine.

CNN's Marshall Cohen and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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