Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, likened the president to a cult leader and asserted he was completely aware of the Ukraine pressure campaign during an interview on MSNBC.

“I don’t think Trump is like organized crime, I think he’s like a cult leader,” Parnas told host Rachel Maddow. “There are a lot of Republicans that would go against him. … He wasn’t as powerful in ’16 and ’17, he became that powerful when he got [Attorney General] William Barr.”

Parnas and another Giuliani associate were arrested in October on charges of campaign finance violations.

He also played an important role in the Ukraine pressure campaign, which led to President Donald Trump‘s impeachment.

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In the first part of his interview with Maddow, Parnas said Trump “knew exactly what was going on.”

Vice President Mike Pence‘s chief of staff responded in a statement Wednesday to Parnas’ comment that Pence also knew what was transpiring in Ukraine.

“This is very simple: Lev Parnas is under a multi-count indictment and will say anything to anybody who will listen in hopes of staying out of prison,” said chief of staff Marc Short. “It’s no surprise that only the liberal media is listening to him,” he added.

The interview has prompted lawmakers and others to call for the Senate impeachment trial to include new witnesses and evidence, something that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has vehemently opposed.

After watching the Parnas interview, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) tweeted that “Republican senators who refuse to support the calling of fact witnesses and relevant documents should just resign for dereliction of duty under the Constitution.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) tweeted Thursday that the interview was “damming.”

“Lev Parnas’s interview on [The Rachel Maddow Show] tonight is damning,” Warren wrote. “He’s an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and implicated Trump in a criminal extortion scheme. How can any Senator argue that we don’t need a real trial, with witnesses and documents?”

Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia) told CNN that he would “absolutely not” consider new evidence because “that’s not our job.”

He echoed many Republican senators’ views saying, “Our job is to respond to what was given to us in the case built by the House.”

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