Parnas says he has turned over tape of Trump calling for diplomat's firing

Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiWe should listen to John Bolton The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength MORE who is at the center of Congress’ impeachment proceedings, said Friday he had given congressional Democrats a 2018 recording of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE discussing the dismissal of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength Congress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Trump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment MORE.

Parnas worked closely with Giuliani to further Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Trump and his associates are known to have viewed Yovanovitch, who was a career official at the State Department and an anti-corruption crusader, as an impediment to their efforts.

Parnas located the clip after it was first reported by ABC News Friday, his attorney, Joseph Bondy, told The New York Times.


Bondy said it “is of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry” of Trump, the case for which House Democrats are presenting in the Senate. He added that the tape had been provided to the House Intelligence Committee whose chairman, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTop intelligence community lawyer leaving position Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump MORE, is leading Democrats’ case for a conviction in the Senate.

The recording, according to ABC News, appears to capture Trump speaking about Yovanovitch to Parnas and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani associate. 

"Get rid of her!" a voice that appears to be Trump's reportedly says. "Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."

The comment comes after Parnas and Fruman appear to speak negatively about Yovanovitch, whom Trump ultimately recalled as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in April 2019. 

The White House did not deny ABC’s reporting, but emphasized that Trump has the right to surround himself with supporters.


“Every President in our history has had the right to place people who support his agenda and his policies within his Administration,” White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamBarr: Trump's tweets make it 'impossible for me to do my job' Hope Hicks to return to White House Record crowd numbers expected at India cricket stadium for Trump's visit MORE said in an emailed statement. 

Former officials who testified in the House’s impeachment investigation told lawmakers that Yovanovitch was subject to a smear campaign from Giuliani and his associates that directly led to her firing. 

Democrats are in a pitched battle with Senate Republicans to try to get new witness testimony and other evidence admitted to the impeachment trial, with some suggesting the tape’s release bolsters their cause.