Posts tagged with "MSNBC"

White House warns states of potentially dire effects if government defaults

September 20, 2021

The White House is warning states that a default caused by failing to raise the federal debt limit could result in drastic cutbacks to disaster relief, Medicaid reimbursement, school funding, and other programs, reports CNN.

“If the US defaults and can no longer pay its obligations, billions of dollars in state aid and state-run but federal funded programs could be halted,” the White House warns in a fact sheet for local and state officials.

Preident Joe Biden has demanded that Republicans join Democrats in raising the debt ceiling, but so far, GOP lawmakers have resisted. The memo comes as Democratic leaders are seriously considering adding a debt limit increase to the stopgap funding bill.

A final decision on whether to make that move must come by Monday, September 20, when the House Rules Committee is slated to take up the short-term continuing resolution, or CR, to keep the government open past September 30. If Democrats add the debt limit hike to the CR, it will set up a showdown vote days before the shutdown deadline, since Senate Republicans are vowing to block it.

According to CNN, the U.S. Treasury has said extraordinary measures to avoid default will run out by October.

The memo outlines several key programs that would be halted if Congress fails to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, infrastructure funding, education, public healthcare, and child nutrition.

The memo also warned that “hitting the debt ceiling could cause a recession,” suggesting, “Economic growth would falter, unemployment would rise, and the labor market could lose millions of jobs.”

“If the U.S. defaults on its debt, cities and states could experience a double-whammy: falling revenues and no federal aid as long as Congress refuses to raise or suspend the debt limit. This means critical state services will be at risk for budget cuts, from education to healthcare to pensions,” the White House said.

It also warns that capital market volatility “could affect state assets,” which could impact state pension payout obligations.

The White House expressed confidence the matter would be resolved, but declined to say how.

“We have seen this done in a bipartisan way consistently. And the best way to do this is without a lot of drama, without a lot of self-inflicted harm to the economy and to our country. And that’s what we’re going to do, you know, there’s a lot of posturing on this issue, but we’re confident at the end of the day we’ll get this done,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said Friday, September 17, on MSNBC.

Research contact: @CNN

Trump’s claims of ‘tax genius’ may undermine his legal defense of ‘ignorance’

July 8, 2021

Former President Donald Trump has claimed for years to be “a master of the tax code.” But now—faced with charges leveled against the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, by New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.—Trump is going with a legal defense of ignorance.

Experts say his past comments may be his undoing, The Daily Beast reports.

Faced with an indictment of his family’s business empire for criminal tax fraud, former President Donald Trump previewed a defense strategy—of sorts—last weekend: ignorance of the law.

“I don’t even know. Does anybody know the answer to that stuff?” he shrugged on Saturday, July 3, in front of adoring fans at a political rally in Sarasota, Florida.

The twice-impeached former president’s remarks provoked a flurry of reactions from some legal commentators and pundits, who saw a besieged client running his mouth in public, and potentially undermining his legal team’s carefully manicured strategies.

But Trump wasn’t so much upturning his legal defense as much as he was delivering his sloppy rendition of it, The Daily Beast says.

According to two people familiar with the matter, lawyers representing him and the Trump Organization are preparing to include this very point in court arguments, given how much the specific intent of an individual matters in areas of New York tax law.

And yet, former prosecutors and defense lawyers who have tried criminal tax cases in New York City told The Daily Beast that Trump, his family, and company executives face a steep hill—and it’s mostly due to Trump himself.

“To a certain extent, not knowing the law is a defense… It’s one of the only defenses in a case like this,” said Tess Cohen, a former New York prosecutor. “But I have trouble believing that’ll get very far.”

That’s because, for years, Trump has called himself “king of the tax code.”

“Nobody knows the tax code better than I do… I’m like a student of the tax code,” he said during a 60 Minutes interview in 2015. He repeated that sentiment on MSNBC and later told supporters in Tampa: “I know more about taxes than any human being that God ever created.”

Trump’s attorney Ronald Fischetti did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Should this investigation make its way to trial, prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney and New York State attorney general would certainly want to question Trump under oath for hours, legal scholars said. The result would be “devastating” for his defense, said Carl Bornstein, a former New York prosecutor who now teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“Those prior inconsistent statements will undermine his claim of lack of knowledge on cross-examination,” he said.

Behind the scenes, the ex-president has insisted that New York prosecutors are out to hurt his business and to try to poison the Trump Organization’s dealings with other companies. In the past few weeks, Trump has encouraged people close to him to publicly claim that his family business is thriving, according to two people familiar with his request.

In recent private conversations, the former president has lamented that further investigation into him and others at the Trump Organization could potentially stretch on for years, adding to his hefty and growing pile of legal bills.

As Trump continues to weigh running for president again in 2024, any increased pressure or potential indictments from New York prosecutors could hobble another lengthy campaign. Still, several longtime advisers to Trump have reassured him that the vast core of Republican voters will not abandon him, should he choose to run again, and that the probes in his home state merely reinforce their devotion.

“The numbers don’t change. Rock solid,” John McLaughlin, who worked as one of Trump’s top pollsters during the 2016 and 2020 campaigns, said, citing his own recent polling data. “Attacks on President Trump galvanize his base.”

When the IRS hunts someone down for refusing to pay taxes, government lawyers don’t have to show intent. But this legal battle is taking place in New York, where state laws require prosecutors to prove that someone was “willfully engaging” in tax fraud.

It’s a higher bar, but not an insurmountable one—especially when it seems that investigators have specific documents that would indicate a concerted effort to conceal the truth.

The 25-page indictment says investigators have “internal spreadsheets” that show exactly how unreported perks replaced employee income, Cohen, the former New York prosecutor, noted.

“Simultaneously, the Trump Organization reduced the amount of direct compensation that Weisselberg received in the form of checks or direct deposits to account for the indirect compensation that he received in the form of payments of rent, utility bills, and garage expenses,” the indictment claims.

“You can’t get much better evidence than that,” Cohen said.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Fox’s News changes the climate for weather TV

July 7, 2021

Weather is taking the media industry by storm. In fact, later this year, Rupert Murdoch is set to debut Fox Weather, a 24-hour streaming channel that promises to do for seven-day forecasts what Fox has done for American politics, financial news and sports, The New York Times reports.

Not to be outdone, the Weather Channel—the granddaddy of television meteorology, broadcasting from Atlanta since 1982—has announced the creation of a new streaming service, Weather Channel Plus, that the company believes could reach 30 million subscribers by 2026.

Amid a waning appetite for political news in the post-Trump era, media executives are realizing that demand for weather updates is ubiquitous—and for an increasing swath of the country, a matter of urgent concern, the Times notes.

In the past week alone, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest broke records, wildfires burned in Colorado and Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into a hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean.

At CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, average viewership for the first half of 2021 fell 38% from a year prior. Concurrently, the audience for the Weather Channel was up 7%.

“All the networks are ramping up for this,” Jay Sures, a co-president of United Talent Agency who oversees its TV division, told the Times, adding, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that climate change and the environment will be the story of the next decade.”

 One of his firm’s clients, Ginger Zee, the chief meteorologist at ABC News, now has 2.2 million Twitter followers — more than any ABC News personality besides George Stephanopoulos.

Fox Weather’s impending debut opens a new front in the media wars, but Byron Allen, the comedian-turned-media-baron whose Allen Media Group bought the Weather Channel for $300 million in 2018, insists that he welcomes the competition. “Rupert Murdoch is very smart; he is the best of the best,” Allen said in an interview. “I am not surprised he’s coming into the weather space. Honestly, I would have been disappointed if he didn’t.”

Allen told the Times that he and Murdoch recently met for an hour in the latter mogul’s office on the Fox lot in Los Angeles. “We had a great time together,” he recalled. “Now the world will understand how big of a business the weather business is and how important it is.” (A spokesperson for Murdoch did not comment on the meeting.)

The weather media ecosystem—from iPhone apps to localized subscription sites and umbrella-toting personalities on the local 10 o’clock news—is a lucrative, if often overlooked, corner of the industry, where the battle for attention is increasingly fierce. Advertisers weary of the choppy politics and brand boycotts of the Trump years see weather as a relatively uncontroversial port in the squall.

At Fox, Sean Hannity will not be giving a forecast (yet). But Fox Weather, which will be funded by advertisers, is aggressively poaching star meteorologists from Houston, Seattle, St. Louis and other markets. It is also taking a run at major talent at the Weather Channel, with several Hollywood agents recounting frenzied bidding wars. A top Weather Channel meteorologist—Shane Brown, whose title was “senior weather product architect”— defected to Fox last month despite efforts to keep him.

The Weather Channel already is throwing some shade.

“They couldn’t even get a headline right about Tropical Storm Bill,” said Nora Zimmett, the network’s chief content officer, referring to a FoxNews.com article that some meteorologists criticized because it claimed that a relatively benign storm posed a “massive” risk to the Eastern Seaboard.

“I applaud Fox getting into the weather space, but they should certainly leave the lifesaving information to the experts,” said Zimmett, who worked at Fox News in the 2000s. She called climate change “a topic that is too important to politicize, and if they do that, they will be doing Americans a disservice.”

A Fox Weather spokeswoman shot back: “While the Weather Channel is focused on trolling FoxNews.com for unrelated stories, Fox Weather is busy preparing the debut of our innovative platform to deliver critical coverage to an incredibly underserved market.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Schumer urges Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office

January 8, 2021

After Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6 in an insurrection that was openly incited by the president in hopes of overturning the November 3 election results, federal legislators began calling for his immediate removal, MSN reports.

“This president must not hold office one day longer,” tweeted presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), adding, “The quickest and most effective way—it can be done today—to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress must reconvene to impeach President Trump.”

Indeed, the events Wednesday “stunned the nation and the world,” MSN said, noting, “People watched in disbelief as a swarm of Trump supporters overran police, breached the Capitol building. and ransacked it.” Four people died during the assault, which followed a speech by Trump at a DC-based rally.

During the rally, Trump repeated his false claims that the presidential election—which he lost to Joe Biden by 7 million votes—was “stolen” from him. He spoke to the crowd, encouraging them to march to the building and saying, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness; you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

But can he be removed from office immediately? Under a provision of the 25th Amendment, the vice president can, with the support of the majority of the president’s cabinet, invoke the the measure and declare Trump unfit for office, which could lead to his early removal.

Under such a scenario, NBC News reports, the vice president would immediately take over as acting president.

Earlier Thursday, Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), called for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, becoming the first Republican to do so.

In an interview with MSNBC, Kinzinger, slammed Trump as “unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his oath, but from reality itself” and said Pence, and the rest of Trump’s cabinet, needed to invoke the measure “to end this nightmare.”

“The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntary,” he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Representatives David Cicilline, of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu, of California and Jamie Raskin, of Maryland, circulated articles of impeachment against Trump on Thursday.

The legislation accuses Trump of “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States” and having “gravely endangered the security of the United States,” which they added, “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”

Research contact: @MSN

Ex-RNC Chair Michael Steele rips Trump voters: ‘You’re getting punked’

August 25, 2020

Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee, had some blunt words on August 23 for GOP stalwarts who voted for Donald Trump during the last presidential election and continue to support him now; as the convention takes place both virtually and in-person in Charlotte, North Carolina this week, The Huffington Post reports.

Speaking on MSNBC a day before the start of the Republican National Convention, Steele warned:

“All y’all want to play this little game that Donald Trump is like you; you’re stupid. You’re being played. You’re getting punked. But what’s so bad about it is you’re complicit in your own punking.

Steele also laughed at the idea that Trump intended to speak on each night of the event—rather than just on the final night, as is traditional.

“Can we stop pretending that this is going to be a Republican National Convention?” he asked. “This is Donald Trump’s reality TV moment.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

A 13-year-old boy delivers his speech with a stutter—and elevates DNC to an emotional high

August 24, 2020

Twenty seconds into his speech on August 20, Brayden Harrington struggled to say his next word, as he undoubtedly knew he would. There was a long pause before the 13-year-old was able to triumphantly say that word: “Stutter.”

It was one of the most moving moments of the night, Vogue reported—and perhaps of the entire Democratic National Convention: a young boy speaking to a national audience about his disability and the 77-year-old man who, drawing on his own experience, was trying to help him overcome it.

Introduced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the evening’s celebrity emcee, Harrington, dressed in a dusky orange tee-shirt and reading his speech on a white sheet of paper he held with both hands, opened by saying, “My name is Brayden Harrington, and I am 13 years old. And without Joe Biden, I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”

He continued, “About a few months ago, I met him in New Hampshire. He told me that we were members of the same club: We”—and then came the long pause before he completed the sentence—“stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became [the] vice president. He told me about a book of poems by Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud. So I did the same thing today.

“My family often says, ‘When the world feels better,’ before talking about something normal, like going to the movies. We all want the world to feel better. We need the world to feel better. I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared.

“Imagine what he could do for all of us. Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to, someone who cares, someone who will make our country and the world feel better. We’re counting on you to elect Joe Biden.”

Harrington and Biden had met in February at a campaign event in New Hampshire. After they first spoke on the rope line, the former vice president invited Harrington backstage to continue their conversation and told him about how he had worked to overcome his own stutter.

Biden’s own stutter emerged when he was a child, he told The Atlantic earlier this year. At times, he was tormented for it. He recalled one nun at school calling him “Mr. Buh-Buh-Buh-Biden” and demanding that he repeat a passage from a book, and high-school classmates nicknaming him “Dash”—as in Morse code staccato.

According to the Vogue report, Harrington’s was a stunning opening to a night that would later see Joe Biden accept his party’s nomination for the presidency, and based on the reaction on social media, there were few dry eyes on viewers at home. (According to The Washington Post, a video of Harrington’s address that was shared on Twitter by the Democratic National Convention had been viewed more than 3 million times by Friday morning.)

“I want to say this to Brayden Harrington (the precious young man with a stutter): Young, Sir: You humble me. I am in TOTAL AWE of your courage,” tweeted Pam Keith, the former Navy JAG running for Congress from Florida’s 18th District. “You have a titanic spirit and unshakeable will. You made the worst bully look pathetic, ridiculous, and so very small. I salute you.”

On MSNBC, Claire McCaskill, the former U.S. senator from Missouri, contrasted Biden’s empathetic outreach to this young boy—and then giving him a high-profile speaking slot at the party’s national convention—with Donald Trump’s widely reported mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter during the 2016 campaign. She said his speech might have been, “the most important moment of the night.” (That same point was also made in a tweet by Matthew Miller, a former spokesman for the State Department: “As I watched Brayden Harrington talk about Biden helping him with his stutter, could not stop thinking of the clip of Trump mocking a disabled reporter. What a contrast.”)

And CNN’s Chris Cillizza said, “Holy cow. The Brayden Harrington speech. The courage. My god. I am going to remember that one for a long time.”

But perhaps the most moving tribute came from a woman who herself has struggled to recapture the power of speech. “Speaking is hard for me too, Brayden,” tweeted Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was almost killed during a mass shooting in 2011 and is still recovering from those near-fatal injuries. “But as you know, practice and purpose help. Thank you for your courage and for the great speech!”

Research contact: @voguemagazine

#FireChrisHayes trends after MSNBC host covers Biden sexual assault allegations

April 30, 2020

The host of MSNBC’s show “All-In,” Chris Hayes, sparked backlash from the left when he became the first prime time host on the network to cover a former aide’s sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. As a result, the hashtag #FireChrisHayes began trending on Twitter, The Hill reported on April 30.

Hayes welcomed New York Magazine Writer-at-Large Rebecca Traister to his program Wednesday night, April 29, after she penned an essay, entitled “The Biden Trap,” which was critical of the former vice president for not addressing Tara Reade’s allegations in any interviews—and, thereby, leaving Democratic women supporting his candidacy to answer questions about the allegations for him.

“What this is creating is a perfect storm … where women are being asked … to answer for these charges,” Traister told Hayes. “In part because of the vacuum created by Joe Biden who is not yet really directly answering these questions, and certainly, not doing what I wish he would, which is to say: ‘Please direct your questions about these allegations to me, and not the women that are out there offering their support to my candidacy.”

Biden has conducted dozens of national and local interviews in recent weeks, but has yet to be asked about the allegations, The Hill said. His campaign denied the allegations in a statement on March 28.

However, Reade said last month that Biden sexually assaulted her in a secluded part of Capitol Hill when he was a senator in 1993. She was backed up by a former neighbor, her mother, and her brother. She was one of several women who came forward last year to say that Biden’s public touching had made her uncomfortable. He later said he would adjust his behavior.

“The man in question, the nominee, the former vice president, is going to have to address [the allegations],” Hayes argued during the segment. “And not have [former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate] Stacey Abrams or anyone else, or [Senator] Kirsten Gillibrand [D-New York] do that.”

Abrams is reportedly on a list of candidates Biden is considering to be his running mate. She told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night that she believed Biden while citing a New York Times investigation written earlier this month, before more corroboration of Reade’s allegations was reported.

“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden,” Abrams said.

The Times later pushed back on the assertion that it had cleared Biden of any wrongdoing, The Hill reports. “Our investigation made no conclusion either way,” a Times spokesperson said in a Wednesday statement.

Several journalists praised Hayes for covering the story while knowing the potential for backlash from some on the left.

Reade has said that she confronted Biden’s aides, but the aides Reade listed have gone on the record to say that they were never confronted about the allegation.

Reade also says she filed a complaint with the human resources office in the Senate about the allegations of inappropriate touching. Media outlets, however, have not been able to track down the complaint, according to The Hill.

Reade did not file a police report at the time. She filed one with the Washington, D.C., police last month.

Research contact: @thehill

Vegas mayor wants to reopen city, using citizenry as ‘control group.’ Nevada governor shuts her down.

April 24, 2020

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman—clearly an independent thinker, as well as an Independent politician—offered up the gamblers, sightseers, business travelers, workers, and residents of her city as a “control group” on April 22, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Insistent on reopening the 28th most-populated city in the United States for commerce, the mayor said that she would take the risk that the coronavirus curve would spiral upward. I would “love everything open,” Goodman said, “ because I think we’ve had viruses for years that have been here.”

After Goodman noted that the city had only seen 150 deaths from coronavirus, Cooper asked her if the relatively low death toll could be because of the state’s stay-at-home order. “How do you know until you have a control group? We offer to be a control group,” she responded.

Indeed, Newsweek reports, Goodman made a series of cable news appearances this week, during which she called for the city to “get our people back to work.” In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, she said that Las Vegas is “ready to get back in business.”

However, there’s at least one powerful person who doesn’t agree with her.

Nevada’s Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak on Wednesday condemned Goodman’s push to reopen her city and asserted that the state is “clearly not ready to open,” according to Newsweek.

Sisolak disagreed with Goodman later on Wednesday during his own appearance on CNN. “We are clearly not ready to open,” the governor said. “We have, sadly, since you did that interview, we now have 187 deaths in the state of Nevada, but over 4,100 positive cases.”

He also vowed never to allow Goodman’s offer to have Las Vegas be a control group by relaxing Covid-19 mitigation restrictions in the city. “I will not allow the citizens of Nevada, our Nevadans to be used as a control group, placebo, whatever she wants to call that,” he said. “I will not allow that.”

Sisolak noted that Las Vegas’ largest trade union, the Culinary Workers Union, had lost 11 members to the novel virus, before saying he’ll do everything in his power to ensure they don’t lose 11 more.

The Culinary Workers Union also rebuked Goodman in a statement released Wednesday, calling her remarks “outrageous.” The group said they support Sisolak’s “plan to protect Nevadans” and “encourage listening to health experts and scientists.”

When asked by Anderson Cooper about his approach to reopening, Sisolak said the state needs a “phased-in approach.”

Research contact: @Newsweek

Trump, Cuomo clash on reopening country

April 16, 2020

President Donald Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—the latter of whom has risen to greater prominence nationwide and higher performance ratings during the COVID-19 crisis—butted heads this week over who has the power to reopen the country, which has largely shut down in response to the pandemic.

Two coalitions on both coasts announced by nine Democratic governors—and including including Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom— have eclipsed the president’s authority-saying they will form plans on when and how to start reopening their states, with little mention of the president, The Epoch Times reports.

And they have the authority to do it, for two reasons:

  • First, according to the Centers for Disease Control, states “have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders.”
  • Second, the president, himself, delegated authority for the coronavirus mitigation effort to the governors early on, instead of risking responsibility for the (possibly unsuccessful) effort at the federal level.

However, Trump told reporters late on April 13 that he, alone, had the authority to decide when to reopen the country; and then reversed himself at another point during the briefing, saying that the governors could decide when to reopen their states.

“We will soon finalize new and very important guidelines to give governors the information they need to start safely opening their states,” he said, referencing a new committee he formed to explore when and how to reopen.

Asked what would happen if some states refuse to reopen, Trump suggested those governors would be voted out of office.

“They’re going to open. They’re going to all open. They want to open. They have to open. They have to get open. Every one of those states, people want to go,” the president said. “We have local government that hopefully will do a good job and, if they don’t do a good job, I’d step in so fast.”

The situation is different in some states that have seen few cases of the CCP virus, compared with some of the hardest-hit states such as New York, Louisiana, and Michigan, Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence backed the president, The Epoch Times reported, remarking, “Throughout the long history of this country, the authority of the president of the United States during national emergencies is unquestionably plenary,” or absolute.

“You can look back through times of war and other national emergencies,” he said.

“It is possible for federal, state, local, and tribal health authorities to have and use all at the same time, separate but coexisting legal quarantine power in certain events. In the event of a conflict, federal law is supreme,” the agency stated.

In direct opposition, Cuomo, who has veered between praising and criticizing Trump, said early on April 14 that Trump shouldn’t try to force states to reopen.

Noting that Trump is not a “king,” Cuomo told MSNBC’s Morning Joe hosts, “The only way this situation gets worse is if the president creates a constitutional crisis.”

“If he says to me, ‘I declare it open,’ and that is a public health risk or it’s reckless with the welfare of the people of my state, I will oppose it.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also pushed back on Trump’s assertions while California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has repeatedly referred to that state as a “nation-state,” said the West Coast compact will focus on reopening based on “health—not politics.”

Trump responded to Cuomo on Twitter, claiming the New York governor has been calling him every day “begging for everything,” including items that should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals and ventilators.

“I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!” Trump wrote.

Research contact: @EpochTimes

Parnas: Trump gave the orders on Ukraine; Giuliani, Pence, and Barr were ‘on the team’

January 17, 2020

The White House reeled as more damning evidence on the Ukraine plot emerged this week, even as the House voted to release its two articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Lev Parnas—the indicted associate of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has been implicated in an alleged attempt to coerce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—told Rachel Maddow of MSNBC in an exclusive and explosive interview aired on January 15, “… Trump knew exactly what was going on.”

“He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials,” Parnas revealed.

“I mean, they have no reason to speak to me. Why would President Zelenskiy’s inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” Parnas said.

Zelenskiy was elected president in April, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Arsen Avakov is Ukraine’s interior minister, NBC News reported.

On Tuesday, the network said, House Democrats released records as part of the evidence that attorneys for Parnas turned over to House impeachment investigators, which show that Giuliani requested a private meeting with Zelenskiy, then the president-elect, with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.”

The evidence appears to bolster Democrats’ argument that Giuliani was doing Trump’s bidding by trying to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

In response to Parnas’ interview, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday morning, “These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison.”

“The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start,” Grisham said.

In a statement to “The Rachel Maddow Show” while the program was airing, Giuliani denied that he told Ukrainian officials that Parnas spoke on behalf of Trump.

“Never,” Giuliani responded when asked whether Parnas was speaking for Trump.

Asked whether he believed Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, “All I can say is the truth.” Giuliani said of Parnas, “He’s a very sad situation.”

The president, himself, continued to stick to the same script, tweeting, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer just said, “The American people want a fair trial in the Senate.” True, but why didn’t Nervous Nancy and Corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff give us a fair trial in the House. It was the most lopsided & unfair basement hearing in the history of Congress!”

The impeachment articles against Trump center on an alleged campaign by Trump to pressure Zelenskiy to announce investigations into Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma in 2014 until he left last year.

“Yeah, it was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and also Rudy had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff. The black ledger,” Parnas told Maddow.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is serving a 7½-year prison sentence for tax evasion and violating federal lobbying laws after having been charged

Parnas also told the MSNBC anchor that Vice President Mike Pence’s planned trip to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May was canceled because the Ukrainians did not agree to the demand for an investigation of the Bidens. “Oh, I know 100% . It was 100%,” he said.

Asked whether Pence was aware of a “quid pro quo” around the visit, Parnas replied by quoting Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who said during the House impeachment inquiry: “Everybody was in the loop.”

Maddow said her show asked for comment from Pence and had not received a response.

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 told Maddow. “Attorney General Barr was basically on the team.”

Asked about Trump’s denial that he knows him, Parnas said, “He lied.”

Parnas said he wants to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. “I want to get the truth out,” he said, “because I feel it’s important for our country.”

The impeachment trial has been scheduled to start on January 21.

Research contact: @NBCNews