The Trump administration has proven that there are many second acts in American lives, even if political actors sometimes try to switch things up a little too quickly. Such is the case of Lev Parnas, who wanted to attend Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on Wednesday in his new role as media whirlwind, resistance darling, and walking evidence of presidential corruption. However, the Ukrainian-American was still dealing with the repercussions of his past life as a Republican fixer, and was not allowed into the Senate gallery because of a court-mandated surveillance device on his person. Like smartphones and laptops, ankle monitors violate the legislative body’s no-electronic-devices rule.
Parnas is currently under house arrest in Florida, due to alleged campaign finance violations related to his work for Trump in Ukraine. A federal judge in New York ruled that he could travel to D.C., but refused to approve his lawyer’s request that the monitoring device be removed so that he could attend the trial, courtesy of gallery tickets provided by Chuck Schumer.
Parnas — like John Bolton and other witnesses privy to Trump’s campaign to solicit foreign interference in an election — was not allowed to testify before the Senate, though it didn’t stop him from bloviating on his trip to the capital. According to Washington Post reporters Maura Judkis and Avi Selk who followed Parnas throughout the day, he stopped in front of a macaron shop to tell a small scrum that, “The president knew everything that was going on in Ukraine. There was many quid pro quos.” Later, when he was asked if he could flash his ankle monitor, he replied, “That’s a separate issue.”