Last December, Parnas connected Giuliani with a man named Viktor Shokin. Shokin served as Ukraine’s prosecutor general under then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko until he was relieved of his position in early 2016. His firing was in part a function of pressure put on Poroshenko by former vice president Joe Biden, who joined other U.S. and international officials in suggesting that Shokin wasn’t effectively combating corruption.
Parnas connected Giuliani to Shokin as part of Giuliani’s effort to call into question the investigation of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, his formal mandate as a lawyer for Trump. Shokin, however, pointed Giuliani in a different direction, alleging that Biden targeted him because the former vice president wanted to protect his son Hunter Biden, then serving on the board of a gas company in Ukraine that was under investigation. There’s no evidence that this is true besides Shokin’s constant assertions, nor was it entirely a new theory, having been broached to some extent in the book “Secret Empires,” by conservative author Peter Schweizer. It nonetheless quickly became a central focus of Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine.
According to Parnas, Shokin also reportedly met with another powerful U.S. official in the same time period: Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes has generally declined to answer questions about the allegation, although he did deny meeting Shokin in an interview with Breitbart News. Nunes is one of Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill. Parnas also claimed that he served as a liaison between Ukrainian officials and Nunes’s staff and joined Nunes’s staff at meetings focused on Ukraine held at Trump’s hotel in Washington.