by Chuck Ross
Among the trove of iPhone records that Lev Parnas recently gave Congress to help in the impeachment of President Donald Trump are the Soviet-born businessman’s porn files, as well as searches on a sex hookup website shut down by the Justice Department, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation review of the files.
The files show searches conducted on Backpage.com, a website called FreeF***BuddyTonight.com, and Porn Hub, the popular porn website.
The searches on Backpage were conducted for potential hook-ups in London, Ft. Lauderdale, the Florida Keys, and West Palm Beach, where Parnas resides, a database of the iPhone files shows.
The searches were likely conducted before January 2017, when Backpage took down its sex work advertisements because of allegations that it contributed to the sex trafficking of minors. The Justice Department unsealed charges against Backpage on April 9, 2018.
The documents do not show whether Parnas met with anyone from the hook-up websites, and there is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part. But the files paint a more complete picture of the information that Parnas has provided to Congress in his pro-impeachment crusade.
Democrats and news outlets alike have recently embraced the formerly pro-Trump Parnas because of information he has provided about Ukraine-related work he conducted with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in 2018 and 2019.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer invited Parnas and his lawyer, Joseph Bondy, to attend the Trump impeachment trial on Wednesday. Parnas was unable to attend because of restrictions stemming from his legal proceedings in the Southern District of New York. He instead waited in Schumer’s offices.
Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, sits in Schumer's office ahead of impeachment trial.
— Roll Call (@rollcall) January 29, 2020
A grand jury in New York indicted Parnas and three associates on Oct. 10 on illegal campaign finance charges. Investigators cracked Parnas’s iPhone on Dec. 3.
Bondy has waged a successful court battle to provide the contents of Parnas’s iPhone to the House Intelligence Committee. House Democrats have since released text messages that Parnas exchanged with Giuliani and other Trump associates, mostly regarding an effort to force the removal of Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Parnas and Bondy have also embarked on a public relations campaign that appears aimed at burnishing the businessman’s image in the eyes of the public and of prosecutors.
“I am able to say to my judge at the end of this day, no matter what happens, he tried very hard and what he did that was so helpful transcends him,” Bondy told CNN for an article published Jan. 20.
In interviews on CNN and MSNBC on Jan. 15, Parnas portrayed himself as a loyal worker-bee to Giuliani in a quest to dig up dirt in Ukraine.
Parnas told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he had no personal motive to get rid of Yovanovitch, and that his opinion of her came from the pro-Trump crowd in which he operated.
“Over the time it grew more and more and more and more and more and eventually I felt like I hated her because you know everybody hated her,” Parnas said of Yovanovitch.
But Parnas appears to have been interested in removing the career diplomat from her Ukraine post well before he began working with Giuliani.
At a private event with Trump on April 30, 2018, Parnas told the commander-in-chief that Yovanovitch was bad-mouthing him, and telling associates that he would be impeached.
“The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start, is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She’s still left over from the Clinton administration,” Parnas tells Trump in the recording, according to ABC News.
“She’s basically walking around telling everybody ‘Wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”
ABC News published a recording of Parnas’s remarks on Friday. The story said that Fruman recorded the event, which was hosted by America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC to which Parnas and Fruman contributed $325,000.
Bondy released an entire audio recording of the event on Saturday.
In the full recording, Parnas is heard telling Trump and other dinner attendees that he was forming a Ukrainian energy company. He followed that up by sharing the Yovanovitch rumor. Trump responded by telling an aide to fire Yovanovitch from her post.
“Get rid of her,” Trump is heard saying.
“Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”
Trump did not follow through until nearly a year later.
Days after the private dinner, Parnas met with then-Texas Rep. Pete Sessions to discuss Yovanovitch. After the meeting, Sessions sent a letter to Sec. of State Mike Pompeo urging him to recall Yovanovitch from Kyiv.
Prosecutors say that Parnas sought to remove Yovanovitch at the request of “one or more” Ukrainian officials, and not Giuliani or Trump.
Bondy didn’t respond to phone calls and an email seeking comment for this article.
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Chuck Ross is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Lev Parnas” by MSNBC.