Parnas says AG Bill Barr 'had to have known everything'

"Mr. Barr had to have known everything. I mean, it's impossible," Parnas said. "Attorney General Barr was basically on the team."
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By Steve Benen

When the White House released a call summary of Donald Trump's July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it was striking to see the Republican make multiple references to Attorney General Bill Barr.

In fact, immediately after Trump brought up Joe Biden, the American president added, "Whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great.... I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call." Toward the end of the phone meeting, Trump again said, "I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call."

By some accounts, the top U.S. law enforcement official wasn't altogether pleased that the president had included him in the conversation, and he reportedly wasn't sure why Trump referenced him. But when Rachel sat down yesterday with Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate involved with executing the Ukraine scheme, he suggested the references made sense to him.

Parnas said Attorney General William Barr was also likely aware of what was going on. Parnas said that he never spoke with Barr but that "I was involved with lots of conversations" that Giuliani and another person had with Barr in front of him.

"Mr. Barr had to have known everything. I mean, it's impossible," Parnas said. "Attorney General Barr was basically on the team."

In context, that "team" appeared to involve Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, two Republican attorneys perhaps best known for their frequent Fox News appearances.

Indeed, when Rachel asked Parnas whether Rudy Giuliani had ever spoken to Barr specifically about Ukraine, Parnas didn't hesitate.

"Not only Rudy Giuliani," Parnas replied. "I mean, Victoria and Joe, they were all best friends. I mean, Barr, Attorney General Barr was basically on the team."

A spokesperson for the Justice Department told The Rachel Maddow Show that Parnas' claims regarding Barr are "100 percent false."

MORE: Today's Maddowblog