The latest impeachment-related contretemps could really only end one way it seems: competing prime time interviews between two of the men alleged to have embarked on an untoward–and possibly illegal–mission to surveil former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
News broke mid-afternoon on Wednesday that Ukrainian-Floridian Lev Parnas would be appearing on liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow‘s eponymous program at 9 p.m. EST. The major topic of discussion would almost certainly seem to be based on a 38-page document dump by the House Intelligence Committee which appeared to detail those aforementioned surveillance efforts.
The dazzling collection of documents contained substantial evidence that Parnas and his business partner Igor Fruman were working in concert with Republican congressional candidate Robert Hyde to keep watch on Yovanovitch. Many observers suggested the former diplomat was being followed and possibly in danger at the time.
As for the tenor of that exclusive first interview with the man thrust into the center of the Ukraine scandal? A tweet from Parnas’s defense attorney Joseph Bondy offered a preview of how his client would likely present himself and his case against the evidence:
Just finished taping our first live interview, with Rachel Maddow. (L to R, @josephabondy, @maddow, Lev Parnas, Stephanie Schuman, Esq. @LeafLegal). Tune in this evening, at 9:00pm. #LetLevSpeak #LevRemembers pic.twitter.com/KYFPr0RuOl
— Joseph A. Bondy (@josephabondy) January 15, 2020
Bondy had previously claimed that Parnas had additional information that would be highly relevant to the ongoing impeachment process.
“Review of these materials is essential to the [Intelligence] Committee’s ability to corroborate the strength of Mr. Parnas’ potential testimony,” Bondy wrote in a letter late last year.
The release of that first–and relatively small–batch of those materials has indeed proven substantial. The apparent tracking of Yovanovitch has already prompted at least two U.S. Senators and 2020 presidential candidates to call for an investigation into those allegations.
The prospect of Parnas testifying in the aftermath of the Tuesday night document release was seen as a major media coup for the liberal network. At least disgraced journalist Dan Rather thought so:
My definition of a major league scoop? The Lev Parnas appearance tonight with Rachel Maddow.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) January 15, 2020
But the broadcast spectrum was always fated for just a bit more than Parnas’s word alone.
Conservative Sinclair Media host Eric Bolling quickly announced that he had Hyde on tap for Wednesday evening as well:
I’ll see your Lev Parnas and raise you one Robert Hyde
Hyde responda to Parnas’ accusations and delivers his message in return-
“America This Week” @WeAreSinclair
— ERIC BOLLING 🇺🇸 (@ericbolling) January 15, 2020
And the tone of that interview was all but a foregone conclusion.
In a tweet sent just after the Tuesday night release, Hyde attacked House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and downplayed his derogatory comments about Yovanovitch–and her apparent location at various hours–as little more than drunken small talk and clowning.
How low can liddle Adam Bull Schiff go? I was never in Kiev. For them to take some texts my buddy’s and I wrote back to some dweeb we were playing with that we met a few times while we had a few drinks is definitely laughable. Schiff is a desperate turd playing with this Lev guy.
— HYDE for U.S. Congress (@rfhyde1) January 15, 2020
“These are bad people, I’m out to expose their actions,” Hyde said in a later tweet. “Attack me all you want, get the facts first. The media is against me because they’re either complicit or have a hand in it, I welcome an investigation. I’ll provide my email password and hand my phone over, bring it on. #hyde.”
It appears that interview will air after 7 p.m. EST on Sinclair properties.
And, yet, there’s still more to come.
“Lev Parnas has been in New York reviewing discovery in my Office, since Monday,” Bondy told a federal judge in a motion filed late Wednesday. “Earlier today, we did a taped interview in my Office with Rachel Maddow, of MSNBC. We respectfully move for modification of his pre-trial release, to allow him to travel to a taping with Anderson Cooper and I at CNN’s Hudson Yards Office, this evening at 9:30pm.”
According to Parnas’s defense attorney, the government did not oppose the request to modify his client’s bail.
Shortly after that unusual filing, U.S. District Judge Paul S. Oetken approved the request.
— Ross Garber (@rossgarber) January 15, 2020
The House dropped hundreds of more pages of Parnas’ communications on Wednesday.
Welp, here's another 390 pages of Lev Parnas messages, posted by the House: https://t.co/0x2GU1xaHe
Starts off with a fun one to Parnas from a Trump PAC official: "What should I send Don to tweet?"
A tweet from Jr. soon materialized. pic.twitter.com/DN5WEfR5Kg
— Andrew Prokop (@awprokop) January 15, 2020
[image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]