In the picture Parnas posted on social media, he and Fruman smile with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani, the personal advocate of President Fruman slipping out of a large reception room filled with hundreds of Trump donors to hold a private meeting with the President and Giuliani, two acquaintances whom Parnas confided immediately after the meeting.
Eventually, as Parnas told his confidants That night, the subject of Ukraine turned. According to the two confidants, Parnas said that "the big man," as he was sometimes talking to the president, spoke of charging him and Fruman with a "secret mission" to pressure the Ukrainian government, Joe Biden to investigate and his son Hunter.
"James Bond Mission"
In the days immediately following the meeting, Parnas made it clear to the two people whom he confided that he had received a special commission from the President; like a kind of "James Bond mission", one of the people.
For Parnas, the chain of command was clear: Giuliani would issue the president's directives, while Parnas, who speaks fluent Russian, would be an investigator in addition to Fruman, who maintains numerous business contacts in Ukraine.
"Parnas saw the mission as a great crusade," says one of the people whom Parnas confided to. "He thought he was doing the right thing for Trump."
The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comments on a series of questions regarding Trump's meeting and Parnas and Fruman's relationship.
Giuliani denies by his lawyer Robert Costello that a private meeting took place at the White House night, saying it was a mere handshake and an opportunity to take photos. Costello also rejects Parnas' claim that he is "not a Sean Connery" and suffers from "megalomania".
Parnas' lawyer Joseph A. Bondy told CNN: "Mr Parnas believed at all times that he acted only on behalf of the President, as ordered by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and never on behalf of a Ukrainian official."
A lawyer from Fruman declined to comment on this article.
Ken McCallion, a former federal prosecutor with numerous high-ranking clients in Ukraine, including former and current government officials, told CNN that he had heard a similar story about the meeting with the Hanukkah party. Parnas told some customers and contacts of McCallion in Ukraine about the encounter. "Parnas told everyone in Ukraine about the meeting of the White House, he was firmly convinced that he was' their type – that they chose him as their ambassador to Ukraine," McCallion told The Wall Street Journal met Parnas and Fruman with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and then Attorney General Yuriy Lutsenko. During this meeting, they extended Poroshenko's invitation to a White House dinner if he agreed to open a public investigation in Ukraine.
A year later, in May 2019, Yovanovitch was recalled from her post.
Another Close Encounter
A separate encounter between Parnas and the President – also not previously announced – could provide further evidence that Parnas and Trump knew each other. In August 2018, months before the White House's Hanukkah party, Trump traveled to New York to attend a fundraiser for former Republican Congressman Claudia Tenney.
Among the few present rich donors was Parnas. CNN's photos of two attendees show Parnas mixing with people and being photographed by Trump. Both participants said they had the impression Trump and Parnas knew each other. During a question and answer session, Trump named Parnas by his first name, even though they had nameplates in front of him.
According to one of the sources, Parnas seemed quite proud of his interaction with Trump.
Parnas, a prolific social media user, tended to post those encounters with Trump. But the photo of Trump and Parnas together in the White House in December is the last encounter Parnas made with the president.
The two sources, who entrusted Parnas over the White House Hanukkah meeting, tell CNN that they have been with Parnas many times over the last eighteen months, and that he "worshiped" the president.
Parnas Disappointed by Trump
In the weeks since his arrest, Parnas is disappointed with Trump, sources say, and even signaled his willingness to cooperate in the Congressional indictment." Parnas' lawyer, Bondy, said his client was going to be killed Prosecution of a Congress summons for documents and testimony to protect its right to change 5.