DOJ Confirms that Trump’s Anti-Biden Propagandists Were in the Employ of a Russian

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested last night as they tried to flee the country in advance of Congressional subpoenas for their testimony. These are the men who, their recently hired attorney, former Trump personal attorney John Dowd, described how intertwined their actions were with the President’s in an effort to excuse them from testifying in the House impeachment inquiry.

Messrs. Parnas and Fruman assisted Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of President Trump. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman have also been represented by Mr. Giuliani in connection with their personal and business affairs. They also assisted Joseph DiGenova and Victoria Toensing in their law practice. Thus, certain information you seek in your September 30, 2019, letter is protected by the attorney-client, attorney work product and other privileges.

The indictment charging Parnas and Fruman with multiple counts of conspiracy lays out how they pursued policies pushed by a Ukrainian politician (and, not coincidentally, Trump), in part by getting Congressman Pete Sessions’ help.

[T]hese contributions 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 one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working. For example, in or about May and June 2018, PARNAS and FRUMAN committed to raise $20,000 or more for a then-sitting U.S. Congressman [Sessions], who had also been the beneficiary of approximately $3 million in independent expenditures by [one of the PACs they ran] during the 2018 election cycle. PARNAS and FRUMAN had met [Sessions] at an event sponsored by an independent expenditure committee to which FRUMAN had recently made substantial contribution. During the 2018 election cycle, [Sessions] had been the beneficiary of approximately $3 million in independent expenditures by [their PAC]. At and around the same time PARNAS and FRUMAN committed to raising those funds for [Sessions], PARNAS met with [Sessions] and sought [his] assistance in causing the U.S. Government to remove or recall the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine []. PARNAS’s efforts to remove the Ambassador were conducted, at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials.

This, of course, is the recall of Marie Yovanovitch, that Trump discussed in his quid pro quo call with Volodymyr Zelensky.

What the indictment is less clear about is who the Russian bankrolling all this is. A key part of Parnas and Fruman’s crime is that they were laundering funds for “a foreign national Russian citizen and businessman.”

From in or about June 2018 through April 2019, LEV PARNAS, IGOR FRUMAN, DAVID CORREIA, and ANDREY KUKUSHKIN, the defendants, and others known and unknown, conspired to make political donations — funded by Foreign National-1 [the Russian] — to politicians and candidates for federal and State office to gain influence with candidates as to policies that would benefit a future business venture.

Putting together the Dowd letter and the indictment, it becomes clear that the John Solomon propaganda that Trump was pushing (and which Rudy sent to Mike Pompeo’s State Department as part of the effort to get rid of Yovanovitch and which Lindsey Graham just invited Rudy to come present to the Senate Judiciary Committee) was funded by an as yet unnamed Russian.

It was only a matter of time before Trump was implicated in ConFraudUs with Russia.

Update: Now add this passage from Trump’s call to Zelensky, and it becomes hard to see how Trump is not implicated in the charged conspiracy.

President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and  have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that you have nobody but friends around us. I will make sure that I surround myself with the best and most experienced people. I also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation [into the source of the Russian investigation], I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

The Pre·sident: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York Ci:ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The otter thing, There’s a lot of. talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.

President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell ·you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgable about the situation. Since we have won· the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one. who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.

The President: Well, she’s going to go through some things.

At a minimum, this makes it clear that the withdrawal of Yovanovitch — which was done with the involvement of Rudy and Parnas –was tied up in the quid pro quo extorted on that call. Indeed, Trump’s suggestion she was “going to go through some things” suggests far worse.

But it is also at least likely that one of the two prosecutors Rudy was pitching was the Ukrainian involved mentioned elsewhere in this indictment.

All of which provides substantial evidence that the quid pro quo Trump engaged in on July 24 — the day after Mueller testified before Congress — is just a continuation of the conspiracy charged in the Parnas and Fruman indictment.

107 replies
    • Stephen says:

      I can’t find one on any of the news sites following the story. The only clue on the document itself is the red stamp “19 CRIM 725” that might be (or include) a docket number…

    • SaabMadoxSaab says:

      Indictment was filed yesterday under seal, per the SDNY Pacer docket. The SDNY issued an order unsealing the indictment today upon the USAO’s application. There’s no separate entry for the application in the case history, so not sure of the timing there. But couldn’t have been long after the commencement of the action.

  1. Fran of the North says:

    “But…but…BUT! What’s wrong with gettin some locals to help, just like asking for directions to a restaurant in a strange city? Those campaign contributions, they weren’t from the Russians, none a’ that funny money. All used hundred dollar bills, same as when I sell a condo in one of my buildings. And I didn’t decide to recall that bad news woman – Ole Texas Pete told me to get somebody more perfect in there, like my buddy that runs those hotels.

    “This is just another witch hunt… China, if you’re listening, I’ll take a meeting if you contribute to my re-election PAC.”

  2. Stephen says:

    So “Congressman-1” is Pete Sessions? Everyone seems to have converged on this point. The indictment seems to suggest that the unlawful donations had been laundered by the defendants in such a way that the Congressman did not know the money’s true origin. One wonders – is there any evidence that might suggest otherwise? Or was he just a “useful idiot” willing to shill against American interests in exchange for $3 million in “legal” contributions?

    Also sounds like America First was “Committee-1,” which raises the question: Who was the one Congressional candidate who received more money from that committee than Sessions? Was any of that money from the samwe tainted source?

    • bmaz says:

      By everything I can discern, yes, Pete Sessions. DeSantis was a “possible”, but appears to not be the case. Unfortunate, because DeSantis would be more fun.

        • bmaz says:

          Crap, please, that was not a discussion point, nor one that should be raised. I won’t speak for others, but that, even as a joke, is bullshit this blog does not need.

          • Savage Librarian says:

            Understood :-( I guess I was overly inspired by your comment above, “DeSantis would be more fun.” For something more substantive, I understand that either Parnas or Fruman donated to Kevin McCarthy’s campaign.

      • Stephen says:

        Yes, evidently the donations match records from Sessions’ campaign. And two of the defendants (Parnas & Correia) had posted a picture of themselves with Sessions and the caption “hard at work.”

        Also of interest: There’s a picture of Parnas and co-defendant Fruman at what looks like a breakfast meeting with Tommy Hicks – and Donald Trump Jr. Guess he still lives by the credo, “if it’s what you say I love it.”

  3. jhand says:

    The Dallas Morning News is all over the Sessions part of the story. I expect that, after a decent interval, he will announce he will not be running in order to take over that job at the GW Bush “library.” The details presented here, abut the contributions to federal and state candidates in order to buy influence, sounds like the reason McConnell has been scared to death of this bit of truth since about October, 2016. Am I right in thinking things are just exploding all around Trump’s, and Ryan’s, and McConnell’s criminal operation?

  4. punaise says:

    Rudy’s Ode (with apologies to Ms King):

    When you’ve gone down, in trouble
    And you need some grub for bail
    And nothing, nothing is going right
    Close your eyes in your mug shot
    And soon I won’t be there
    To blighten up even your darkest sight

    You just call out my game
    And you know wherever I am
    I’ll  go running, away from your blame
    Winter, fall, summer or spring
    All you have to do is sing
    And I’ll be there
    You’ve got a cell-mate

  5. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Retaining Comic Sans Dowd also means they’ve essentially bought into the JDA from the Mueller investigation. I wonder if they’ll be housed in the same part of MCC as Manafort?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      And Manafort’s lawyers showed up in EDVA for the arraignment. They’re not being subtle about it.

  6. harpie says:

    …others known and unknown…has a nice ring to it.
    8:21 AM – 10 Oct 2019

    The Parnas/Fruman indictment makes clear that the feds have monitored their communications dating back to mid-2018 [“26. From in or about March 2018”]. So those conspirators “known and unknown” should be worried. [“the defendants, knowingly conspired with each other and with others known and unknown to: […]”] [screenshot]

  7. sand says:

    A lot of people don’t realize (i.e., I just learned) that Pete Sessions left Congress to the tune of Ted Poe quoting Davy Crockett: “‘You may all go to hell, I am going to Texas.”

    In light of current events, I’d suggest a perspicacious Democrat might quote Crockett on the House floor again, for the benefit of the remaining Republicans and any voters with any faith left in Congress:

    “I am sorry to say I do doubt the honesty of many men that are called good at home, that have given themselves up to serve a party. I am no man’s man. I bark at no man’s bid. I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the white house, no matter who he is. And if this petty, un-patriotic scuffling for men, and forgetting principles, goes on, it will be the overthrow of this one happy nation, and the blood and toil of our ancestors will have been expended in vain.” – An Account of Col. Crockett’s Tour to the North and Down East : In the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-four (1835), p. 172

    • William Bennett says:

      We’re most of us so inured to the very longstanding fact of political parties, we tend to forget that they were anathema to the Founders, precisely because of the tendency to put party—or “faction,” to use their term—ahead of country. The evidence that they were right to be wary is all around us.

  8. Matthew Harris says:

    I have to admit that my mind is pretty frazzled from the past few years. In any normal time, this would be gigantic, huge, presidency-defining news. But my scale of normal has been demolished by the last couple of years.

    But still, I think this is pretty important.

    But I also won’t go out on a limb and say Giuliani will be arrested by the end of the week, or something. Lots of things will happen, but they might happen kind of slowly. There will be some very angry media cycles, a few Republican Senators will be “troubled” or “concerned”, and probably there will be some firings or resignations or people lawyering up. Someone who was previously one of Trump’s favorites might start being the target of Twitter rants. This might be interrupted by other news items.

    The only thing I can say is this is not the end of things. There will be more people in Trump’s orbit, either administration, campaign, or business, that will be either indicted, arrested, or plead guilty within the next six months. There will also be other people who will be fired or resign, probably in the next month, but almost certainly in the next three months. Other than that, I can’t guess where this is going, and how fast.

    • rip says:

      Thanks for expressing my views on possible futures. After all, according to some physicists, there are an infinite number of futures at every point in time.

      I wish I could be optimistic and hope that some of these follow-on events will happen in my lifetime, or at least in the next 10-20 years. If there is to be a societal learning from these types of abnormal events, it would be best if the repercussions were to happen within a generation. (There’s no hope in changing the minds of the maggots…)

    • timbo says:

      And let’s all hope that they don’t let the DoJ “there’s an ongoing investigation” bull-pucky stop them from actually forcing these guys testimony. I mean, if they have the goods, let’s give them limited or full immunity to testify before Congress…

  9. 200Toros says:

    Lots of shoes dropping. Even Republicans are speaking out against his servile, pro-Russian handling of the Turk/Kurd issue (betrayal). As the downward gyre gains momentum, of concern to me is the economic implications of the president’s fall. The instant the Chinese determine that, in their best estimation, trump cannot win the next election, or will be impeached, they are done dealing with him. They have the upper hand in trade negotiations. They think in much longer timelines. They know he is desperate for a deal, any deal, that he can call a win. And they are, by default, far smarter than he is.

    This administration cannot afford to allow an economic recession just before an election, that’s suicidal. The Fed, as well as all major central banks, has enormous power to manipulate markets, and will do so, since it works in the short-term, though they’re effectively just kicking the can down the road, with catastrophic future consequences. Not that they care. trump has painted himself in a corner with the Chinese. If they decide he’s done (and they may well have already), about the only thing he could do to cancel the negative consequences of his trade war is to cancel the tariffs he initiated, and get nothing in return from the Chinese. And if the Chinese do appear to have made concessions, that would be the place to look for the next quid pro quo; it’ll be a doozy. Yet another example of why his weakness puts the entire country at risk.

    That’s my two cents anyway…

  10. Matthew Harris says:

    Since my last post was pretty vague, there is something more specific that I am wondering about:

    “A senior administration official said Attorney General William Barr has been aware of the investigation into Parnas and Fruman since shortly after he came into office in February. The official said Barr has received regular briefings and was told Wednesday that the two would be arrested that evening.”

    So at the same time as William Barr’s DOJ was deciding that the whistleblower’s complaint did not merit charges of campaign fraud, even after the CIA general counsel referred a complaint, he was totally aware that people who were related to this were being investigated.

    So this kind of raises questions about William Barr. Not that there wasn’t enough of those already. Perhaps Barr has maintained his Trump-defending activities to the non-official. Perhaps Barr actually is an honest man, playing toady to Trump in public while seeking the truth in private. But as far as I can tell, the best guess is that Barr is an old man who is probably dealing with the world’s biggest case of cognitive dissonance.

  11. Sandwichman says:

    This is a stretch, but… Parnas and Fruman were only arrested — and the indictment unsealed — because they were attempting to leave the country. They were due to be deposed by Congress. Is it possible they were tipped off (by someone in the DOJ) about the pending charges in an effort to get them out of the country and prevent their depositions and the ploy backfired?

    • Sandwichman says:

      Curiouser and curiouser. William Barr was in NY yesterday to visit with SDNY. Rudy had lunch with Parnas and Fruman yesterday. When did they book their flights? Before or after lunch?

      • Matthew Harris says:

        Putting aside the question of Barr’s motivations and ethics, which are hard things to ascertain, it seems hard to believe that a functional person would be taking the type of risks involved in tipping off Rudy Guiliani’s accomplices. He would have to be really dumb to do so.

        He is the Attorney General of the United States. Would he be so unwise as to tip off a loud-mouthed, low-discretion publicity hound like Rudy, so that Rudy could then tell two 2-bit peripheral operators to flee the country? Even by the low standards of planning seen in the Trump circles, that seems pretty low. Also, them fleeing doesn’t really help anything: the indictments are out there, and probably most of what can connect them to Giuliani or Trump is in troves of documentary evidence. If they had succeeded in fleeing, it would not have exactly put anyone in a better situation.

        Of course this is 2019, I have seen so many ridiculous things, so I am not ruling it out, but I don’t see what Barr has to gain through such a move.

        • Sandwichman says:

          “Even by the low standards of planning seen in the Trump circles, that seems pretty low.”

          I would agree. Desperate times, though.

        • Keith says:

          What you say is true, unless the 2-bit peripheral operators, as you call them happen to have enough information to hang the whole kit and caboodle right on up to the Hominid in the Oval.

  12. ernesto says:

    also from TPM:
    Parnas & Fruman “…plus businessmen David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, allegedly funneled money from an unnamed foreign national to candidates for political office in Nevada who could change state laws about recreational marijuana licensing.
    “…donations to Laxalt and Duncan, $10,000 each and made in Fruman’s name, were logged by the Nevada Secretary of State’s office on November 1, 2018.”

    Nevada weed. Well, that rings a bell:

    (oohboy, I just updated os and lost a bunch of login stuff in the process…I think I’ve used the right name for this site. begging pardon if not.)

  13. Vince says:

    According to the FBI, $325,000 from Parnas and Fruman went through an LLC set up to disguise the source of the contributions to America First Action PAC, a pro-Racist Donnie PAC where Don Jr. is part of the leadership, along with several former members of the Racist Donnie White House. The FBI called their actions both “corruption” and “deliberate law-breaking”.

    Giuliani’s first response to the arrests was a statement that he didn’t believe the two men would “flip” on him (!), but the U.S. attorney for Manhattan and the New York office of the FBI stated this remains an “ongoing investigation”, meaning that others may be charged – including Giuliani.

    • Vicks says:

      Seriously, we are having another discussion about another personal lawyer for the president of our United States that includes the term “flipping”?
      On what f’ing planet is Trump still worth defending?

        • harpie says:

          Adam has since found the source of that video:

          7:17 PM – 10 Oct 2019

          This video posted by a user named Leo Pelley on twitter appears to be the scoop of @Bencjacobs and @jacobkornbluh. Follow them, retweet, and lift them up! Here is the story that goes with it: [link]

          From the article:

          […] In the video, which appeared to be filmed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump’s personal lawyer, says he “can’t wait to come back,” followed by Parnas saying, “See you in Ukraine soon.” The video was posted on the Facebook page of the Anatevka Jewish Refugee Community, the social media arm of a charity set up to help Ukrainian Jews fleeing violence in the eastern part of the country in 2018. Both Parnas and Fruman sit on the board of the charity. The three men also sent greetings to Rabbi Moshe Azman, the head of the organization. […]

          Kornbluh tweets:

          7:25 PM – 10 Oct 2019

          Looks like Giuliani is also “honorary mayor of Anatevka” [photo of Rudy with Rabbi Moshe Azman]

          The text from Azman with that photo describes Rudy as the “personal lawyer of the United States President Donald Trump”.

  14. Vince says:

    Racist Donnie throws Rudy under the bus, then puts it in reverse and runs over him again.

    When asked about his relationship with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Racist Donnie said:

    “I don’t know them.” “I don’t know about them, I don’t know what they do… Maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy. I just don’t know.”

  15. punaise says:

    For Pete’s sake, beer lovers may appreciate a low-powered Sessions IPA (“I Plead Answerable”)

    Confession Sessions (™) available soon at your local watering hole.

    • P J Evans says:

      To make sure they’d gotten out of Austria without anyone noticing they’d been there? Or to get more instructions for his Other Client, the one in the WH?

    • Geoff says:

      Oh, this looks like typical Rudy BS CYA. He is saying he is going to Vienna because those two guys were going to Vienna on their tickets. Rudy figures this gives them an excuse for being there, as they had things to do together (perhaps get their stories straight?) but the one way part for the Ukrainians will be hard to explain away. I think the point is, he wants to make it look like they weren’t fleeing before being arrested. As to who tipped them off, probably Rudy at lunch, but who tipped Rudy off. Well, he is well connected, could be many people, not necessarily Barr.

    • tjallen says:

      Why Vienna? Because Dmitry Firtash is in Vienna, under house arrest, fighting extradition to US on other matters.

      • tjallen says:

        Further reading reveals more – Guess who Firtash’s lawyers are? Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing. According to an article at Colorado Springs Gazette

        “A law firm run by Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, two lawyers close to the president, hired Parnas in July to serve as an interpreter related to their representation of Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch, who was detained in Vienna in 2014 on corruption charges filed in the U.S. Parnas wasn’t set to travel to Vienna on Wednesday in connection to that case, DiGenova said.”

      • harpie says:

        Here are two good threads with a lot of information about this:
        6:42 PM – 10 Oct 2019

        […] Aaaand here’s the confirmation that Parnas’s trips to Vienna are officially connected to Firtash: [WSJ link]
        From last week: ‘A sworn statement by former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin for use in the case suggests that Firtash’s defense has, at least in part, relied on claims similar to those made by Giuliani.’
        6:46 PM – 10 Oct 2019

        Wow – Lev Parnas was hired by DiGenova and Toensing as an interpreter for Dmitry Firtash
        I made this connection 3 days ago when news broke Parnas, Furman, [FRUMAN], Sargeant were meddling in Naftogaz that intermediary who gets a cut from Naftogaz sales to customers is Dmitry Firtash
        Notably – apparently Trump supported proposed changes at Naftogaz

        Giuliani specifically wanted to talk with Zelensky aide Yermak who had worked as copyright lawyer representing media cos including a tv channel Inter owned by Dmitry Firtash -Yermak also worked for lawmaker with Party of Regions, which Manafort worked for

        Naftogaz is going to be a key part of Ukraine story […]

        More in thread on one of the people Perry was pushing to join Naftogaz advisory committee – Robert Bensh, who has very close business ties with Frank Mermoud who was coordinator of diplomatic corps at the RNC when references to arming Ukraine were removed […]

        • tjallen says:

          Thank you, harpie! I can’t help but think, a week ago, some were saying, Here is a simple and easy to understand article of impeachment.

        • clairence says:

          If they were interpreters for Giuliani, DiGenova and Toensing, doesn’t that explain why they say they were helping? I don’t know if interpreters are also bound by privilege (being in the room for privileged conversations), but I would suspect so. Clearly IANAL, but doesn’t this bolster their claim for privilege rather than diminish it?

    • BobCon says:

      I have to admit that it’s been hard to process everything that is being revealed, and it’s shocking how much is obviously still hidden.

  16. Geoff says:

    Hate to link to the NYT, but this just further substantiates that Rudy and friends were running a shadow foreign policy, with all goals subverted, and personal gain being the highest priority. It’s really quite shocking what has been going on, and that it continues. This also substantiates Mueller’s closing line, that we need to wake up to the interference and that it will continue in 2020; or rather, is a corrolary. Oh, and btw, Facebook, F.U. Someone needs to whup Zuck upside the head. Damn, he was a jerk in college, and now he’s just a bigger jerk.

  17. Eureka says:

    re Lindsey Graham’s invite to Rudy Tuesday, I meant to note that Lou Dobbs (with gateway pundit) were putting the screws to him on Saturday night (after 10p Eastern):

    Lou Dobbs: “HE LIED! Fraudster Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham Has REFUSED to Call any Hearings on FBI, CIA, Spygate, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Mueller, Stefan Halper… COMPLETE LIST [url dated October 2019*] via @gatewaypundit”

    *The article preview cites Graham’s May 1, 2019 “promised investigations on how the Mueller probe started…”

    • Eureka says:

      Also, per parts of an SV Date thread (Tues 10-8 am, includes screenshots of Graham’s invite tweets), interesting quotes from Bossert the prior Sunday:

      S.V. Dáte: “Someone who had views on this? Trump’s former Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert. This is what he told ABC News on Sept. 29: “It’s not only a conspiracy, it is completely debunked.” “If he continues to focus on that white whale, it’s going to bring him down.””

      “And also this: “It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again and for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity.””

      “And this: “United States government reached its conclusion on attributing to Russia the DNC hack in 2016 before it even communicated it to the FBI, long before the FBI ever knocked on the door at the DNC.”

      (emphasis added to last quoted tweet)

  18. John Paul Jones says:

    When the whistleblower’s report was released, I noticed that he said Rudy had liaised with two individuals on Ukraine, and his footnote for the source of the information (if memory serves; on the road right now) was what looked like an Organized Crime task-force or unit. I remember being surprised that nobody in the media thought this worthy of mention, but I’m guessing that the two mentioned are these two mooks who’ve just been arrested.

  19. Eureka says:

    Meanwhile, an update related to another Rudy* client/ gov lobbying “pastiche”:

    Andrew Ba Tran: “Sesame Street is introducing a new muppet who has a mother battling an opioid addiction because 5.7 million children under the age of 11 are living with a parent with substance use disorder [link to The Guardian]”

    *Summarized in Aug. 2018 letters by Senators Hassan and Whitehouse to DOJ & DEA attached and highlighted here:

    Senators Are Demanding Information About Giuliani’s History With Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma

  20. Rugger9 says:

    One thing kind of bugs me here, given that Barr was also in NYC on a “routine” visit. Since the Palace never does anything without a purpose (i.e. to cover up Individual-1’s liabilities) there is no such thing as “routine” in this visit. Barr was there for a reason, especially considering his jet-setting ways recently. So, if Barr was there and (speculating) tipped off our two anti-heroes to leave now, then why did they get arrested anyway? We already have pix of them with Individual-1 and his son Jr, and Barr was apparently aware of them all the way back in February, so why would Barr let such potentially damning evidence see the light of day? Even allowing for general Palace incompetence, I would propose some scenarios:

    1. These are the official fall guys. What would argue against that idea for me is that unless one was a serious conspiracy geek and watches C-Span instead of football on Saturdays these weren’t household names. Also, how tied in are they to Vlad, either directly or through the Ukrainian rebels and if so what would Vlad do about that? Note also the lack of apparent connection to the DNC, Seth Rich (may he rest in peace), or any of the other frothy RW narratives.

    2. Barr, despite his purging of dissenting voices in the DOJ (see how they argued that Nixon tape ruling was not correctly decided even though it was 8-0 as a data point on the purge effectiveness), still has a faction within DOJ / FBI willing to follow the rule of law and buck what was probably a directive to “let these guys go” from the AG himself. So, lets try to keep track of the effect on the arresting officers’ careers if we can and keep them safer from blowback such as the junk being visited upon our recent whistleblowers.

    • Bruce Stewart says:

      Here’s hoping SDNY set this up to trap Rudy, because they judged it highly likely that Rudy would be the conduit for what they whispered to Barr. And also hoping there are other reasons the investigation is ongoing.

    • BobCon says:

      I am not a lawyer, so I can’t comment on the substance. What strikes me is the consistent reporting that Rao’s dissent wasn’t based on some narrow technical issue, it represents an activist at work, inventing major principles where none had existed before.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That’s why Rao is there. Same with her colleagues across the federal judiciary. Limiting the damage they do will need to be a high priority for Trump’s successor, something the last Democratic president was unable or unwilling to do.

    • Vince says:

      Great response from the majority to the dissent by the judge recently appointed by Racist Donnie, who goofily claimed that the request by congress should have been made part of the impeachment process(?):

      “The dissent cites nothing in Constitutional or case law, and there is nothing that compels Congress to abandon its legislative role at the first scent of potential illegality and confine itself exclusively to the impeachment process. Nor does anything in the dissent’s lengthy recitation of historical examples dictate that result.”


  21. K-spin says:

    With so much coming out so quickly, it’s hard to keep up and – IMO – equally hard to keep the Big Picture at the forefront of our minds, tempted as we are to analyse each new nugget of information for evidence/proof that DJT has, indeed, been abusing his power all along, and hoping that every new fact will bring us/Congress closer to removing this idiot from power.

    I’d like to take a ‘step back’ though, and re-focus on the Big Picture, as I see it. And yes, I’m Australian, and yes I know that some will disagree…

    If you like, the ‘acute’ problem is that the president-elect of the US is profoundly ill-suited to the office, by virtue of temperament and experience. He is a self-serving narcissist with little to no compassion, or understanding of/regard for the rule of law, who has done irreparable damage to both the lives of US citizens, and the global reputation of the US as both an ally and an arbiter of justice. Examples abound of his poor decisions, his abject stupidity, and his disregard / disrespect for the opinions and rights of others. Challenges to his (perceived) autonomy, and attempts to curtail his whims, have been met with destain and rebuke. Efforts to oversee his behaviour have only made him more explicit in his claims to be ‘above the law’, and he thumbs his nose at Congress, and says ‘I can do what I want… it’s none of your fucking business’.

    So yes, the acute problem is how best to remove this toxic man from power, rise above his taunts, and restore the function/ reputation of your country ASAP. All while showing due deference to the rule of law. And I love that this site continues to call him out, and advocate for him to be held to account.

    I also want to highlight the Big Picture though – what I’d call the ‘chronic problem’ that DJT’s actions exemplify. Sure, the Founding Fathers never anticipated that an elected president would be so stupid, or so corrupt, or so disparaging of the justice system, as what we’re all seeing here. So in addition to holding DJT to account, can there also be some thought put into (1) how to lessen the chance of an inexperienced, self-serving idiot ever being elected again, and (2) firming up the oversight statutes, so that future presidents are clearly aware that they are accountable, every single day that they are HONOURED to serve, to the rule of law, the government, and the people.

    Impeachment is great, and I’m hoping as much as any other reader here, that you – and the rest of us – are rid of this dangerous idiot as a result. But we should also think of how long it’s taken to get to this stage; how many good and experienced people have been lost along the way, and how long it will take to rebuild what he and his lackeys have broken, over nearly three years of a lawless presidency. In the midst of this mess, can we not take a step back for a moment, look at the Big Picture, and give some thought to what can be done to prevent this from ever happening again?

  22. Jas says:

    We should not forget that Pete Sessions is the son of former FBI director William Sessions (1983-1997). A few years after returning to private practice, William Sessions had no qualms representing Semion Mogilevich, who at the time was on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. Interestingly Mogilevich also hired Richard Crane Jr. former head of the US Dept of Justice, organized crime division for Western US to represent him as well.
    Don’t forget that Pete Sessions was one of the strongest vocal opponents of sanctions on Russia for their election interference.

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