Trump lawyer dismisses photos of the president with Lev Parnas, other evidence

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Less than 12 hours after the White House announced President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial defense team, new questions have emerged about connections between some of his lawyers and figures at the center of the Ukraine investigation.

A document dump from the House Judiciary Committee overnight Friday included more information about Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who is currently under federal indictment for his alleged role in the political pressure campaign in Ukraine.

The released documents included photos of Parnas with Tweety McTreason as well as shots of him with Ivanka Trump, Tweety McTreason Jr., and Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general who is among the lawyers on the president’s impeachment team.

Trump has repeatedly said he does not know Parnas.

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This undated image released by the House Judiciary Committee from documents provided by Lev Parnas to the committee in the impeachment probe against President Tweety McTreason, shows a photo of Lev Parnas with Trump in Florida.House Judiciary Committee / via AP

Bondi in an interview on NBC’s “TODAY” on Saturday morning dismissed the photos.

“Clearly, Lev Parnas liked to take pictures with a lot of people,” she said. “He showed up at events pretty much everywhere where Republicans were.”

The Judiciary Committee’s release also included information obtained by the FBI when they searched Parnas’ electronic devices. According to his electronic calendar, Parnas had a breakfast meeting scheduled with Tweety McTreason in September, just days before Parnas was arrested.

“I don’t know what that matters, what they’re planning on doing with it,” Bondi said when asked about how apparent evidence of the president’s relationship with Parnas might figure into Democrats’ strategy at the trial. “We’re going to stick to the facts and stick to the law in this case.”

Besides questions about possible connections of Parnas to the president and Bondi, another person on Trump’s defense team drawing attention is Kenneth Starr, who in the 1990s oversaw investigations into President Bill Clinton that led to his impeachment. At that time, Trump called Starr a “lunatic” and a “disaster.”

Asked about Trump’s prior comments on Starr, Bondi said, “Clearly he does not think this now.”

“Ken Starr knows what he’s doing,” she said. “He has experience in this field.”

Bondi also addressed the question of whether new witnesses might be called at the Senate trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday.

“If they want to force a witness to be called, that’s going to be discussed,” Bondi said.

Katie Primm

Katie Primm is a news specials producer at NBC News in New York and deputy director for elections coverage at NBC.

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