WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A secretly recorded video released on Thursday shows U.S. President Donald Trump associating with Lev Parnas, the indicted businessman who says he worked to pressure Ukraine to investigate one of Trump’s Democratic political rivals.
It is the second such tape to emerge in a week and would appear to undercut Trump’s claim that he does not know Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, who now faces federal campaign-finance charges.
The two recordings show that the Republican president was at private events with Parnas twice in just 10 days in 2018.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 37-minute tape released Thursday was distributed by Joseph Bondy, Parnas’ attorney, and it appears to show a private gathering of Republican donors on April 20, 2018 at Mar-A-Lago, the president’s private club in Florida.
Parnas himself is videotaped at one point posing with the president.
Parnas handed over text messages and other correspondence to congressional investigators that detailed his work with Giuliani to get Ukraine to announce that it would open a corruption investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic contender in the 2020 presidential election.
The U.S. Senate is now holding a trial to consider whether to remove Trump from office after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives formally charged him with abuse of power and obstructing Congress in December. Trump is expected to be acquitted by the majority-Republican Senate.
Parnas made a theatrical appearance on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, offering to appear as a witness, but he was denied entry because he was wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor.
On the video, which appears to be secretly recorded on a cell phone, Trump talks about his poll ratings and jokes that military generals have been unable to tell him where the money from oil sales in Syria or Libya are going. At the end of the recording, he poses for photos with his guests, including Parnas.
Bondy said Parnas did not make the recording.
Bondy released a recording last Saturday of a dinner with Trump on April 30, 2018, in which Trump discusses Ukraine with Parnas and orders that the then-ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, be fired.
Parnas is seeking leniency as he faces federal charges for allegedly funneling money to a pro-Trump election committee.
Reporting by Aram Roston; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Leslie Adler