As the Senate impeachment trial formalities get underway, both sides are digesting the latest blockbuster claims by Lev Parnas. In an interview with Rachel Maddow, he basically confirmed everything we’ve learned so far, and implicated a lot more people. NBC: Giuliani associate Parnas says Trump “knew exactly what was going on.” Before you begin to lev-itate at these confirmations, keep in mind that we’ve had plenty of lev-idence of the quid pro quo (from far more upstanding sources), and none disclaiming it, and GOP Senators (who have all the lev-erage) have remained dug in when it comes to supporting Trump. I’ll be surprised if and when the lev-ee breaks. So while the interview feels like Mt Lev-erest, remain lev-el headed, as it may amount to just one more mole hill to sweep aside. Meanwhile, Trump is still getting what he set out to get. The perception of some connection between Ukrainian corruption and Joe Biden. That may all amount to nothing, but it’s more than an email server, and look at how far that smear took him. Trump smears are like the Hotel California. You can check out any time you want, but you can never Lev. (Sorry for the lev-ity, it’s my coping mechanism.)

+ “Taken together, the comments on Wednesday capped a stunning turnabout for a man who was a Trump donor and once considered himself a close friend of Mr. Giuliani, who is a godfather to his son.” NYT: Lev Parnas, Key Player in Ukraine Affair, Completes Break With Trump and Giuliani.

+ NPR: Trump Broke The Law In Freezing Ukraine Funds, Watchdog Report Concludes.

+ Jonathan Mahler in the NYT Mag addresses one of the more interesting questions of the era: What the hell happened to Rudy Giuliani? The Fog of Rudy. Did he change — or did America? “The real question is perhaps not ‘What happened to Rudy?’ It’s ‘What happened to us?’ Today, anything seems possible for those who are willing to say and do anything. Watching Giuliani wage his destructively madcap campaigns over the course of the last two years — and continue to wage them, even in the face of the president’s impeachment and his own criminal investigation — it has become impossible not to wonder if there are any limits to shamelessness at all.” (The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”)