Parnas calls for probe into Bill Barr over 2019 arrest

Lev Parnas, a convicted former aide to Rudy Giuliani, called Wednesday for an investigation into former Attorney General Bill Barr over his 2019 arrest.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) asked Parnas during a GOP-led House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing Wednesday whether Barr should be investigated for his conduct while he was in office. The hearing was called to examine Republican allegations against the Biden family, but Parnas largely refuted their claims, saying they originated with Russian intelligence officers.

He argued that his arrest in October 2019 was part of a scheme by the Justice Department, led by Barr, to protect former President Trump.

“I absolutely believe that but not only that I believe Bill Barr should be investigated for the cover up and trying to silence me to get the truth of what really happened,” he said.

Parnas was then pressed further on why he believed Barr should be investigated. He said that he was used to take the blame and to prevent Trump from being impeached at the time.

“My arrest setup strictly to shut me up, to seal all my documents, take away all my information and turn me into the crazy man that had no way to prove what was going on. But the real story was Bill Barr was trying to save Donald Trump from an impeachment and using me as a scapegoat,” Parnas said.

“What he didn’t realize was Donald Trump was not going to stop and continued doing what he wants to do, and that’s where it blew up in Bill Barr’s face. He also hired special counsel at the time [Scott] Brady to look into Ukraine, and we tried to reach out with my attorney to special counsel Brady — he never returned our phone call. Nobody wanted to hear anything I have to say that had to do with Ukraine, Donald Trump, or Rudy Giuliani,” he added.

Parnas, whom Democrats selected as a witness for Wednesday’s hearing, was indicted on fraud and campaign finance crimes and was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2022. Since being released last year, he has pushed back on the GOP’s investigation into whether President Biden was connected to Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

He said in a letter last July that Giuliani and all others involved in the matter “knew that these allegations against the Bidens were false.”

“Throughout all these months of work, the extensive campaigns and networking done by Trump allies and Giuliani associates, including the enormously thorough interviews and assignments that I undertook, there has never been any evidence that Hunter or Joe Biden committed any crimes related to Ukrainian politics,” he wrote at the time.

The Hill has reached out to Barr’s law firm for comment.

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