For the second time in a week, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday fielded questions, albeit briefly, about Lev Parnas. His responses largely avoided providing any substantive answers.
Parnas, a one-time supporter of President Donald Trump who was spotted several times with the Governor in his last days of his 2018 campaign, has made media rounds this week with explosive claims.
On MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow program, Parnas claimed to have told the Ukrainians that VP Mike Pence would not attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy, and that all aid would be held back unless former VP Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, were investigated.
And he claimed Trump was central to the scheme, in which his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani acted as a go-between.
“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” Parnas, a Soviet-born Florida businessman facing a raft of criminal charges related to campaign finance violations, said. “He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the President.”
Parnas, as the Orlando Sentinel first reported, met with DeSantis numerous times and donated $50,000 of money (since refunded) to the Governor’s political committee. He also sought a place on the Governor’s transition committee,
Despite having met so many times and achieving a certain level of closeness, however, DeSantis disclaimed knowledge of Parnas’ Ukrainian shadow diplomacy when asked about it.
“No, no,” he said when asked about that Friday in Jacksonville.
Regarding the myriad other meetings and communications with Parnas, the Governor said “that’s been totally gone over.”
“They’ve put so much stuff out about it,” DeSantis said. “I don’t have anything to add.”
DeSantis fielded questions Tuesday in the Capitol, where POLITICO Florida writers peppered him with Parnas inquiries.
The Governor laughed off those questions.
In a more serious mode, the Wall Street Journal reported that DeSantis-Parnas texts will constitute documentary evidence in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.