A close associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney says he delivered an ultimatum in May to the incoming president of Ukraine that no senior U.S. officials would attend his inauguration and all American aid to the war-torn country would be withheld if an investigation into Joe Biden wasn't announced.
Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, made several potentially explosive claims in a televised interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, according to the Associated Press.
The day after Parnas said he had delivered the message, the U.S. State Department announced that Vice President Mike Pence would no longer be attending Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration.
Parnas alleged that Trump had ordered Pence to stay away at the behest of Giuliani to send a clear message to the incoming Ukrainian administration that they needed to take seriously the demand for an investigation into Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate seen as a potential threat to Trump's 2020 reelection.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released correspondence between Parnas and Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, SBU Chief Ivan Bakanov and former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.