Lindsey Graham Says Lev Parnas Is 'Crooked As a Snake' After Evidence Disclosure: 'I Smell a Rat'

Lindsey Graham has said new impeachment evidence presented by Lev Parnas this week was "no different than the old evidence," calling the indicted Rudy Giuliani associate "crooked as a snake."

The GOP senator for South Carolina told Fox News on Thursday night that he smelled "a rat" and accused Parnas of "dripping out" evidence to the House Intelligence Committee in the build-up to the Senate impeachment trial.

His comments came two days after House Democrats released a trove of documents provided by Parnas' attorney, including text messages and photographs.

A letter from President Donald Trump's personal attorney Giuliani requesting a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was also among the evidence, and claimed to be sent with the commander-in-chief's "knowledge and consent."

President Trump claimed he didn't "know anything about a letter" when asked about the document by reporters.

Speaking about the new evidence provided by Parnas on Tuesday, Graham said: "The new evidence is no different than the old evidence."

"This Parnas guy is facing indictment," the South Carolina senator added. "He's been dripping out to the House Intel Committee batches of information, crescendoing to the week we start the trial.

"I smell a rat here. The guy is crooked as a snake."

Newsweek has contacted Parnas' attorney for comment, and will update this article with any response.

Graham went on to say Democratic lawmakers expected Senate Republicans to "destroy executive privilege," by calling on former national security adviser John Bolton to testify.

"They didn't even subpoena Bolton, and they're expecting us, Republicans, to destroy President Trump's privilege," he said. "We're not going to do it."

Asked for Graham his thoughts on Republican senators who have said they are open to hearing witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial, Graham replied: "Do not call anyone covered by executive privilege, because the president was not allowed to invoke it.

"The Senate should not deny the president the ability to invoke executive privilege."

Lindsey Graham and Steele Dossier
Lindsey Graham holds up a copy of the Steele dossier as Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 11, 2019. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The GOP senator said he would not vote to "expand the record" and instead make his judgment based on evidence compiled during the House inquiry.

"I took [Robert] Mueller seriously. I don't take [Adam] Schiff, [Jerry] Nadler seriously," he said. "And I don't take Chuck Schumer seriously when he says he's looking for the truth."

Graham's attack on President Trump's impeachment came after senators signed an oath of impartiality ahead of the Senate trial, during which lawmakers will act as jurors.

The Senate impeachment trial is expected to begin in earnest next Tuesday, but officially got underway on Thursday when senators were sworn in and the impeachment articles were read.

Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House voted on Wednesday to bring impeachment articles, including charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, forward to the upper chamber by 228 to 193.