Parnas criticizes Republican representative in hearing for “following orders” from Russia

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Lev Parnas, a convicted former aide to Rudy Giuliani, on Wednesday named members of Congress who he said were “doing bidding” from Russia by trying to dig up “filth” about President Biden during his 2020 campaign.

In a GOP-led House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing titled “Influence Peddling: Examining Joe Biden’s Abuse of Public Office,” Parnas named Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) during his testimony as collaborators in their efforts.

The allegation arose in response to ranking Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who asked Parnas how he and Giuliani were able to “take these false accusations, spread by corrupt officials and Russian agents, and promote and amplify them here in the United States.” , in our political system.”

“Weren’t media groups skeptical of his claims?” Raskin asked.

“Most media groups (I would probably say all except Fox and some other right-wing media groups) didn’t want to accept any information, and that exasperated Rudy Giuliani, John Solomon and other actors,” Parnas said. saying. “And the main group that was being pushed was Fox: Sean Hannity and some other media personalities there.”

“But there were also other people who were doing the bidding of the Russians: people in Congress, like Senator Ron Johnson, like Congressman Pete Sessions, who sits here right now,” Parnas said, pointing to the Texas congressman, who sits on the committee.

Sessions, Parnas continued, “was with me from the beginning on this journey, to find Joe Biden.”

A spokesman for Johnson fiercely refuted the allegation, calling it “completely unfounded” and a “despicable lie.”

“There is nothing in Senators Johnson and Grassley’s reports on Biden family corruption that has been proven false,” the spokesperson said. “Anyone linking Senator Johnson’s legitimate and accurate oversight work to Russia is amplifying a despicable lie that Democrats spread in 2020 to discredit the senator’s work and protect Joe Biden.”

The Hill has reached out to Sessions for a response.

Solomon defended his work in a cheep, and invited Congress to contact his lawyers for more information. The Hill published a review from Solomon’s opinion columns on Ukraine in February 2019.

Parnas, whom Democrats selected as a witness, was charged with fraud and campaign finance crimes and sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2022. Since his release last September, Parnas has been an outspoken critic of Republican efforts to push the narrative that President Biden took. Action in Ukraine for the benefit of his son, Hunter Biden.

The indictment accused Parnas and his business partner Igor Fruman, who was also charged, of heavily pressuring an unnamed congressman to remove Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The indictment said they “undertook to raise $20,000 or more for a U.S. congressman at the time.”

The anonymous congressman, “Congressman-1,” was later reported by multiple media be Sessions. A grand jury then subpoenaed Sessions for documents about her relationship with Giuliani and the accused associates.

Sessions He denied any “irregularity” After the arrests of Parnas and Fruman, he said in a statement at the time that if he were truly the unnamed congressman named in the indictment, “he could not have had any knowledge of the plan described in the indictment nor have he been involved or coordinated in it.” ”.

“I have been friends with Rudy Giuliani for over 30 years,” Sessions added at the time. “I don’t know what his business or legal activities have been in Ukraine.”

Updated at 16:31.

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