(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan announced that two of Rudy Giuliani’s business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested on campaign finance violations on Wednesday night at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Federal prosecutors said they were attempting to leave the country. Each man was carrying a one-way international ticket. They are being represented by former Trump attorney John Dowd.
The Wall Street Journal reported that a source, “a person who was in the hotel,” said the men had lunch with Giuliani at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Wednesday.
Both Parnas and Fruman are Ukraine-born, U.S. citizens. According to the indictment, they have been charged with “four counts including conspiracy, falsification of records and lying to the Federal Election Commission about their political donations.”
William Sweeney, assistant director in charge at the U.S. attorney’s office for the SDNY, told reporters, “These allegations are not about some technicality, a civil violation or an error on a form. This investigation is about corrupt behavior [and] deliberate lawbreaking.”
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said that, “Protecting the integrity of our elections and protecting our elections from unlawful foreign influence are core functions of our campaign finance laws and, as this office has made clear, we will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who engage in criminal conduct that draws into question the integrity of our political process.”
You could have fooled us.
According to The Hill:
Prosecutors allege that the men engaged in a scheme using a shell company called Global Energy Producers to funnel donations to numerous Republican political committees, including ones supporting Trump and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).
The contributions, the indictment alleges, were “made for the purpose of gaining influence with politicians so as to advance their own personal financial interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials, including at least on Ukrainian government official with whom they were working.”
On Thursday, three House committees also subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman for documents relating to any efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his family or involving matters related to the Democratic National Committee or 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Hill article goes on to say that Parnas and Fruman “allegedly lobbied an unnamed congressman to push for the firing of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled in May.” Yovanovitch is testifying before House on Friday as part of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The Democrats will try to prove that Trump had no reason to fire this woman. The reality is that she facilitated the agenda of the deep state. Among her corrupt actions, upon their first meeting, she handed then-new Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenkoa list of individuals who could not be charged.
The Post reports:
In May 2018, about six months before the men began working with Giuliani on his Biden investigation, a Florida business established by Parnas received a $1.26 million wire transfer from an account whose owner was represented by a real estate lawyer who specializes in assisting foreign buyers of U.S. property, court documents and corporate filings show.
Two days later, America First, the main pro-Trump super PAC, reported receiving $325,000 from a company Parnas and Fruman had incorporated the previous month called Global Energy Producers.
Last year, the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center filed a still-pending complaint with the Federal Election Commission over the donation, alleging that it appeared to be a straw donation that masked the identity of the original contributor.
Parnas told the Miami Herald last week that the money for the super PAC donation was from proceeds from the sale of a Miami-area condominium. Kelly Sadler, a spokeswoman for the super PAC, has declined to comment on “ongoing legal matters.”
“I can tell you that we scrupulously adhere to all laws and regulations,” she said.
An anonymous source has told The Washington Post that Parnas and Fruman have been helping Giuliani with his investigation of former vice president Joe Biden since late 2018. The source said that “Parnas and Fruman helped set up a Skype call for Giuliani in late 2018 with Viktor Shokin, the ousted prosecutor general, and an in-person meeting in New York in January 2019 with Yuri Lutsenko, then Ukraine’s prosecutor general.” Isn’t that part of a normal investigation, seeking assistance in setting up interviews.
So excited that they could tie Trump and Giuliani to individuals accused of actual crimes, the media seemed to spin this particular story extra hard, so I had to really work to separate the wheat from the chaff. Similar to the way Trump is considered guilty of everything he is ever accused of, Parnas and Fruman are presumed guilty by the left. It looks as if reports that Attorney General William Barr and Prosecutor John Durham have expanded their investigation, after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz expanded his in June, have the Democrats a little spooked.