Fruman made the recording, and Parnas’ lawyer made it public. Yovanovitch was recalled from her post about a year later.
Parnas is not done
“Over the past several months, it has been revealed that Lev Parnas is a prolific collector of photos and videos,” Bondy told CNN in an interview. “Contrary to what one might expect, Mr. Parnas has not destroyed any. Rather, he has preserved them. The universe of subject matter is yet to be publicly revealed but is of interest in matters well beyond the impeachment inquiry.”
The images obtained by CNN are of trips that provide a peek into relationships Giuliani has not been willing to discuss, specifically work he’s done for legally embattled foreign clients whose interests could intersect with his most prominent client — the President of the United States. Parnas says that the photos help show ties that Giuliani had with business and political interests in Venezuela.
Betancourt courts Giuliani
In London, Parnas says Betancourt asked Giuliani to join his legal team, which already consisted of two long-time Giuliani friends: former US attorney Frank Wohl and the Miami-based former Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale. “Frank and Jon are great lawyers. The only reason Rudy was needed as well was to exert leverage with Barr,” Parnas told CNN. A separate source familiar with Betancourt’s legal strategy told CNN that Giuliani’s connections at the Justice Department, including familiarity with Barr, were considered helpful by Betancourt. Giuliani did not comment on Parnas’ assertion.
Parnas told CNN that hiring lawyers close to Barr was an idea being deployed at the same time by Firtash, who shared that thinking with him. “For both Firtash and for Betancourt, the only point of hiring these lawyers was to get to Barr,” Parnas said.
At the Yankees game and in discussions in London afterwards, Parnas says Betancourt invited Giuliani, himself and others to Spain.
A castle near Madrid
Most of the newly-released images and a video shared with CNN document a week-long trip Parnas took with Giuliani last summer to a castle outside Madrid to meet Betancourt.
Second, the video was intended to show that Betancourt was of value to Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament, who has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S, as the interim president.
A source familiar with Giuliani’s legal strategy confirms that Giuliani made video recordings for the Justice Department, but denies Parnas’ claim that any videos were intended for the President. There is no indication Giuliani showed the videos at the Justice Department or to Trump. The Justice Department declined to comment for this story. Betancourt and his lawyers did not respond to CNN requests for comment.
When asked about the trip to Madrid and the video-recordings of Betancourt, Giuliani had this to say in a text to CNN: “Your story about the interview[s] is given to you by not just an unreliable source, but a proven liar… I can’t discuss any tape recordings or confirm or deny them.”
Parnas, who does not possess the videos, is adamant the recordings were also intended for the President. “I would swear under oath that the purpose of the Guaido recording and the Betancourt recording was to be shown to President Trump — although Betancourt’s video was designed to be shown principally to the Justice Department and Barr.”
August in Spain
Parnas says he was often asked to arrange logistics for Giuliani and tend to the smallest of his needs. One photograph reviewed by CNN shows Parnas wiping Giuliani’s face.
Messages from Parnas’ cell phone that were handed over to House investigators for the impeachment hearing show that details of Giuliani’s trip to Madrid were organized by Parnas, who arranged for an airport greeter. “When you arrive in Madrid their [sic] will be someone waiting for you with a sign that says ‘NUBA’ at the door of the plane. They will take you through cotumes [sic].”
The trio’s first stop in Madrid was with Andriy Yermak, the right hand of Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukraine president.
After that, according to Parnas, a large group descended on the castle, El Castillo del Alamín. The group included Giuliani’s girlfriend, Dr. Maria Ryan and Wohl, as well as the Parnas and Fruman families. Wohl did not respond to request for comment, but a source close to Giuliani verified Parnas’ account of the guest list. A photo shows Giuliani sitting in a chair smoking a cigar with Ryan in his lap. Another has them posing for a photo with Betancourt in the background.
During the trip, Parnas says that Giuliani set up his recording equipment on the castle grounds and made video interviews with both Betancourt and Wilmer Guaido. He also spoke with Juan Guaido via FaceTime, according to Parnas.
“Giuliani told me that Betancourt explained in his interview that he had given secret financial support to the Guaido family and regime,” Parnas told CNN. This would clearly put Betancourt in good standing with the President, since Guaido’s position is predicated on US support.
Betancourt, who has made millions from Venezuelan government contracts, was presumed to be a supporter of the rival, oppressive regime of the socialist Nicolas Maduro. The US has recognized Guaido and not Maduro as the official Venezuelan president since early 2019.
While in Spain, Giuliani told Parnas that he was confident he could get Betancourt’s legal problems “cleared up in a couple of weeks,” according to Parnas.
A month later, in September, Giuliani met with Justice Department officials to discuss Betancourt’s case and Barr dropped in on the meeting. A source familiar with the gathering says that the videos were not shown to Barr and would not comment on whether they were shown to lawyers there. The Justice Department declined to comment on the meeting.