Sen. David Perdue, Georgia Republican, dismissed efforts by Democrats to inject Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas into the impeachment proceedings as a “distraction” based on “second-hand information.”
“This is a distraction. This is a person that’s been indicted right now,” said Mr. Perdue on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He’s out on bail. He’s been meeting with the House Intel Committee. If the House felt this information was pertinent, I would think they would have included him and his testimony in this.”
He added that Mr. Parnas, an associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani who was charged with campaign-finance violations, has personal motivations to cooperate with congressional Democrats seeking to impeach President Trump.
Does Mr. Parnas have material evidence? “That’s the deal he’s trying to make to get his sentence reduced,” said Mr. Perdue. “I’m not sure he does at all, personally.”
He noted that Mr. Parnas was not on the July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president at the center of the impeachment push, and that “the president says he doesn’t know who he was. He wasn’t close to the president at all.”
“What he was trying to do was get access into the government of the Ukraine, and that was one way to do it,” Mr. Perdue said.
The Senate impeachment trial begins Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats tangle over whether witnesses will be allowed to testify. Such witnesses could include Mr. Parnas and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, as well as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s son Hunter Biden.