The Proper Recipients for Lev Parnas’ Allegations Are the Ethics Committee and SDNY

CNN has a follow-up to Daily Beast’s story describing the jaunt Devin Nunes took to Vienna last December to dig up fabricated dirt on Joe Biden. It describes two things Parnas wants to share with HPSCI. First, Parnas wants to spill details about the Ukrainians, including Viktor Shokin, he set up Nunes with to pursue the Biden smear that has been the centerpiece of Trump’s impeachment defense.

“Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December,” said Bondy.


Bondy tells CNN that his client and Nunes began communicating around the time of the Vienna trip. Parnas says he worked to put Nunes in touch with Ukrainians who could help Nunes dig up dirt on Biden and Democrats in Ukraine, according to Bondy.

Parnas confirms something I noted: the timing, between the time Republicans got shellacked in midterm elections and the time Adam Schiff took over as House Intelligence Committee.

Bondy told CNN that Nunes planned the trip to Vienna after Republicans lost control of the House in the mid-term elections on Nov. 6, 2018.

“Mr. Parnas learned through Nunes’ investigator, Derek Harvey, that the Congressman had sequenced this trip to occur after the mid-term elections yet before Congress’ return to session, so that Nunes would not have to disclose the trip details to his Democrat colleagues in Congress,” said Bondy.

Additionally, he wants to describe the “team,” including Rudy, Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, Nunes’ chief conspiracist Derek Harvey, and John Solomon, that got together at Trump International to advance these smears.

Bondy tells CNN that Parnas is also willing to tell Congress about a series of regular meetings he says he took part in at the Trump International Hotel in Washington that concerned Ukraine. According to Bondy, Parnas became part of what he described as a “team” that met several times a week in a private room at the BLT restaurant on the second floor of the Trump Hotel. In addition to giving the group access to key people in Ukraine who could help their cause, Parnas translated their conversations, Bondy said.

The group, according to Bondy,  included Giuliani, Parnas, the journalist Solomon, and the married attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. Parnas said that Harvey would occasionally be present as well, and that it was Parnas’ understanding that Harvey was Nunes’ proxy, Bondy said.

Solomon confirmed the meetings to CNN but said that calling the group a team was a bit of a mischaracterization. Solomon said that connectivity happened more organically, and that his role was only as a journalist reporting a story.

A detail Parnas offers that is probably not true is that Nunes was working off John Solomon stories.

Parnas says that Nunes told him he’d been partly working off of information from the journalist John Solomon, who had written a number of articles on the Biden conspiracy theory for the Hill, according to Bondy.

That timing doesn’t work, as the key Solomon stories came out after the December trip. This appears to be an attempt on Parnas’ part to hide his role not just in translating the stories, but concocting them.

The story has generated a lot of excitement among the left, with people calling to give Parnas’ attorneys exactly what they’re looking for, a date with HPSCI.

That would be a mistake.

I say that for several reasons. First, this is part of a larger disinformation campaign, in which Parnas is a key player. He is legally fucked and has little downside to share just part of his information, while leaving the key bits (such as who is behind the larger campaign) obscured. His lawyers no doubt want to wring immunity from HPSCI to screw up the SDNY case.

But thus far, particularly given HPSCI’s narrow focus, Parnas’ story doesn’t help the impeachment case much. Moreover, it risks inserting disinformation into a thoroughly credible story of corruption. More importantly, it would make most Republicans  even more defensive, as members of HPSCI came under scrutiny, making it less likely rather than more they’d support impeachment.

Finally, Schiff has gotten nowhere with his demands for the documentary backup to these stories. Thus, HPSCI would be at a distinct disadvantage in trying to suss out what was true and bullshit in Parnas’ claims (in the same way that both HPSCI and SSCI did not have the key details on Don Jr’s involvement in 2016 events, which is why he would meet with them but not Mueller).

The proper place in Congress for these allegations is the Ethics Committee. Schiff has the ability to ask all three staffers and Nunes to step down from the committee until such issues are adjudicated, where they would be pursued in private, tamping down the polarizing aspect of this.

And, too, these allegations also belong in FBI, where they already are, with investigators whose subpoena power actually works. Anything that would undercut that effort would backfire in the long run.

74 replies
  1. Jim White says:

    I agree completely on Parnas not testifying to HSPCI. Much better to let credible sources put that story together with appropriate documentation.

    I’m a little puzzled on one aspect of the timing, though. The trip receipts show it was Nov 30 to Dec 3, and Daily Beast says this was the one that Parnas helped organize. But then the CNN story, as you quoted, says Parnas learned from Shokin that he met with Nunes in December and then Parnas began communicating with Nunes “around that time”.

    Perhaps the easiest way to make that timeline work is to assume that “around that time”, actually late in November, Parnas arranged the Nunes meeting with Shokin and the “learned from Shokin” bit is just obfuscation from Bondy and Parnas about how the meeting actually came about and is based on Shokin confirming to Parnas that the meeting actually took place.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Agree. Impeachment hearings, like trials, are the careful display of what prosecutors already know. Their purpose is to present evidence – and to allow the defendant to challenge it – relating to an accused’s guilt or innocence.

      If HPSCI does not already know what a witness will testify to, it should not allow the testimony. Moreover, congressional testimony can wreak havoc with a criminal prosecution.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      And there’s always the chance that whatever timeline Parnas is floating is a complete fabrication meant to throw everyone else off and he and Nunes were in contact well before the dates given…

      That’s the thing about liars… once you know they’re lying to you, you’re better off, for your own safety, assuming they might be lying every time they tell you something…

      Who in their right mind would believe any statement that comes from Trump World at this point?

  2. Stephen says:

    Well sourced & reasoned as always. But would it really be feasible to remove Nunes from the committee during an investigation? And might such a removal not backfire spectacularly in the public perception? (Okay, just the low-information public, but that’s the vast constituency we somehow have to get through to…)

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      I’m not a lawyer and I would think, maybe, that if Nunes’ behavior (his trip to Ukraine) is part of what gets investigated, it’s seems somehow that he should be off the committee for that… otherwise, wouldn’t he end up investigating himself?

      Again, I’m not a lawyer but that would seem to be a problem – letting Nunes investigate himself – to me…

  3. BobCon says:

    The Ethics Committee is split evenly and Ratcliffe (!) is on it. Schiff would need some serious documentation to get any GOP buy in, and he’s probably wary of a split decision. The staff may well do a legitimate investigation, but it would be secret while pending and take time.

    It might not hurt to get some groundwork done though, in case criminal charges are ever filed, which typically halts Committee action until they’re resolved (e.g. Duncan Hunter).

  4. Rapier says:

    I saw some profile of Parnas, sorry no link, which painted him as a well meaning patriot and loving family man. Now this doesn’t explain the grift on the movie deal or the Nevada stuff or other places where funny money passed through his hands or in front of him but I am willing to give some credence to his self image as just an ordinary guy thrust into doing important things for the country.

    Let’s just say he is a man driven by loyalty. Misplaced loyalty perhaps we might say but the self image of anyone who prizes loyalty would then cast himself as hero. He goes from just some guy schlepping about South Florida doing deals to traveling in the orbit of the President of the United States. This stuff is hugely self justifying. He’s made it. He’s a BSD. He’s doing James Bond stuff for the President. It’s all heady stuff.

    That he’s gone rouge because Trump said ‘I hardly know the guy’ is just so perfect.

    Isn’t Trump fuming about Barr letting this stuff go this far with Parnas and Fruman? Now that Pompeo, a committed full on member of the ‘God gave us Trump’ crowd, is now on Trumps shit list I guess we can figure Barr will be too. The fact is Trump needs real revolutionaries in charge to purge the government.

    • Stephen says:

      This is actually hilarious. You maintain that because a source you don’t cite says Lev Parnas is a good family man, he is also a patriot thrust willy-nilly onto the global stage? So let’s see what doesn’t add up here…

      1. You present no evidence of his essential goodness.
      2. Even grifters, gangsters and traitors can be good family men.
      3, You present no evidence of his patriotism (nor does his history).
      4. You gloss quickly over his long history of shady (if not downright illegal) financial dealings. One of the more recent of these (check Jim White’s reporting on this site) involved using one of his shell companies to donate over $30,000 to the America First Committee while inducing said PAC to misattribute the donation to a different corporate entity (whose titular head he had just paid several thousands more dollars) – oh, and the moneys originated with a foreign-owned blind trust account, not Parnas himself.
      5. He has deep roots with the Trump family, as evidence by his having worked for the family business when Fred was still around and having been seen (and photographed) socializing with various members of the family.
      6. His international business dealings consistently smell of money laundering and oligarchic pandering – not just a failed movie deal here and there.

      I am sure I am missing several more issues here, and look forward to the responses of other EW readers.

  5. Savage Librarian says:

    Marcy, thanks for carefully measuring the consequences of scurrying to accommodate a grifter. It’s crucial to allow the appropriate professionals to sift through motivations as well as facts in a venue that does not completely destroy trust. What we want now is plum pudding, not hasty pudding. Our kitchen needs to be every bit as compelling as the one promoted by Putin and his chef.

      • harpie says:

        At this point, it would be fine with me if Devin’s [hopefully short] remaining career in Congress is enveloped in a dark “cloud”.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        BobCon said, “It’s worth not expecting too much . . .”

        Yeah, but . . . I distinctly remember a whole lot of Republican squawking about the whistleblower’s contact with one of Chairman Schiff’s staffers. And there is no whistleblower protection for Victor Shokin nor Lev Parnas. Nor was Ninny Na-Na Nunes a mere staffer directing Shokin and Parnas on the correct procedure for filing a whistleblower’s complaint.

        And yet you’re almost certainly correct about not expecting too much.

        (BTW, My own Mr. Matthew Pocket Syndrome has recently returned.)

  6. Badger Robert says:

    Thanks for the blog and the discussion. My first reaction was exactly the same, ethics committee and federal prosecutors. I am not sure what the federal crime would be. Can you clarify that issue? Thanks again.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For starters, the committee would investigate whether this amounted to an illegal and undeclared campaign contribution to Trump. If so, the spending of congressional funds on it would be wrongful, as would be the documentation and accounting.

      • BobCon says:

        I think the motivations of Nunes are ideological, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there is shady money or undeclared funding involved in some way, primarily as a way of covering tracks.

        I think it’s funny that Nunes, who has access to a secure communication room, felt the need to fly overseas for a face to face meeting. Obviously he was worried about his contacts being under surveillance.

        I wouldn’t be surorised if there is money being spent improperly to facilitate these contacts between Nunes and his staff and the conspirators, and bad accounting may be what trips them up.

        And it’s always possible the other side pressed expensive gifts on Nunes or his staff in the hopes of getting leverage later. I don’t think the GOP has very smart or experienced people.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If Nunes’s meeting with Ukrainian prosecutor Shokin last December was official and on the up and up, why meet in Vienna and not Kyiv?

        Why would then lame duck chairman Nunes be involved at all, if the purpose of the meet was to persuade Ukrainian prosecutors to cooperate with the American DOJ?

        • harpie says:

          That’s one of the questions olganyc is asking in this thread [via Scott Stedman]

          10:03 PM – 22 Nov 2019

          There are 2 things I want to know about @DevinNunes today’s revelations of meeting w corrupt Ukrainian ex prosecutor Shokin

          1)Why did Nunes meet w Shokin in Vienna (besides Firtash being there)

          2)Why did Nunes take a trip to Azerbaijan Aug 2018? Giuliani’s contact is Azerbaijani [link to another thread] [link to yet another thread, about the Agalarov family connection]

        • Mitch Neher says:

          EoH asks, “[W]hy meet in Vienna and not Kyiv?”

          I’m guessing that Dmytro Firtash [still under house arrest in Vienna] cannot yet travel to Kyiv. But it could be a coincidence[?]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I see Firtash’s usefulness to Trump’s conspiracy theories, and to his keeping in contact with one of Putin’s close advisers and cut-outs.

          I don’t see how it relates to legitimate investigations coordinated by Ukrainian and American prosecutors. But then, I don’t think legitimate enters into it.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Not to mention, Firtash is wanted and is subject to extradition proceedings by the DOJ. Any conversations Rudy might have with him could interfere with the DOJ’s prosecution. As Sondland observed, whatever Rudy touches, he fucks up.

  7. pjb says:

    May I ask something that is a bit off topic (but I don’t know where else I can find a congregation of such smart knowledgeable folks)?

    Are the Senate Rules (assuming McConnell doesn’t drastically alter them) somewhere published? Does anyone know what the procedure will be for compelling witness testimony? Suppose the House Managers wanted to call Mulvaney to the Senate floor to testify. Does CJ Roberts have exclusive jurisdiction to rule on a motion to quash subpoena (assuming the WH resists) Is there an appeal or way to overcome the CJ’s ruling? If Mulvaney should defy an order to appear, what are the consequences? Can adverse inference be taken? Would inherent contempt be brought out of mothballs in that instance?

    Also, why is there no public discussion of impeaching Mulvaney or Pompeo in addition to the President? Does that make the Repub Senators’ voting decisions easier or harder?

    • BobCon says:

      It is very much uncharted waters, but this is an interesting take.

      (There is a link to the Senate rules in that piece)

      My gut instinct is that the piece is overly optimistic. I suspect Roberts does not want to be ruling on substantial questions and will be in negotiations with McConnell over how to deal with a whole slew of scenarios.

      I also suspect McConnell will jam through a package of rules revisions which are neutral on the surface but essentially constrict the power of the Senate to compel testimony or possibly hear evidence. They will be just legalistic enough to offer plausible deniability to Senators like Romney and Collins, but essentially take the gavel out of the hands of Roberts in most cases.

      • Arj says:

        Subpoenas are just like ‘serving suggestions’ or ‘recommended retail prices’ these days. Do they have any more force when issued by the Senate than by the House, or does everything get kicked down the road to the next court? I realise the WH doesn’t want certain ppl to appear (their innocence is just too obvious to require proof) but some of us are still curious.

        • BobCon says:

          The point in that article has some validity — if the subpoena is ruled valid by the Chief Justice presiding over the trial, there is a strong implication that the Supreme Court would uphold it too. Otherwise, Roberts would have to figure out a way to be self-negating.

          That is why I think McConnell (and very possibly Roberts) want to stave off that possibility. I suspect we’ll see a last second rules package with a lot of hard to decipher changes that get adopted by the GOP with enough deniability that they can claim they didn’t know what they were voting for. Roberts will be able to sigh and reject motion after motion by the Democrats on technical grounds.

          I will note that the Senate moves in mysterious ways, and it is possible there are parliamentary roadblocks to McConnell that I’m not aware of.

        • Arj says:

          Hmm. Would love this possible scenario to be a glimpse of magisterial strategy by Dems, but (my) jury is still out. Eventually s o m e o n e will have to be ruling on ‘substantial questions’ though.

        • pjb says:

          Interesting article. Good find. It would be good to see exposed the practical consequence of any cleverly obscured rule changes Mitch engineers.

          This shit is sure getting interesting.

  8. sls642 says:

    I don’t get the D’s logic behind fast tracking this still unfolding tale of systemic corruption and sending it to the Senate as soon as possible. What do they think will happen there? The Repubs will turn the entire impeachment process on it’s head and use it to attack Biden, his son, Schiff, Ukraine, career diplomats, anyone that is a threat to Trump’s reelection. And that is all that matters to them. Nothing else.

    If I were Pelosi, I would keep this train running as long as relevant information keeps coming. And the way these things usually transpire, they begin with one person and eventually everything follows.

    I don’t see any logical comparisons between Trump and Clinton’s impeachments. No one really cared about Clinton lying about his sex life. If anything, most people who remember that mess thought they would have lied too if asked the same questions. Might not have said it publicly but that was what most people thought at the time.

    I said way back then that there are certain areas that people just don’t think are lies even if they are. Your weight, age, anything involving sex between consenting adults, and there are others that I have likely forgotten. Totally different situation from Trump and his band of criminal conspirators.. The Repubs never understood their basic problem pursuing Clinton and got predictably burnt. I made money off Clinton’s impeachment by betting some oblivious Repub friends that he would never be removed from office because the public wouldn’t buy his particular lie as being impeachable or even terribly wrong. They knew all about Clinton’s reputation when he was elected and didn’t care. Same with Trump and his even crazier sex life.

    What Pelosi is facing is totally different and I don’t see any downside to getting all the details on the table even if it goes into and after the upcoming election. This story must be fully disclosed. Our fundamental values are hanging in the balance. In the end, the truth will prevail. Most people in this country will eventually make the right decision if given all the necessary information. Facts do matter. They are all that matter.

    Trump is our Jim Jones and his followers the kool aid drinkers who will follow him over a cliff no matter what. Nothing will persuade them even if he admitted it. It is what it is and it’s politically naïve to think otherwise. It’s the 10% or so of the public who are still not sure for whatever reason who are the deciders. And they are listening. The Senate won’t. Why go there? It will be a three ring circus with Trump controlling everything that happens. How does this make any sense to anyone other than kool aid drinkers?

    And Schiff handing Nunes off to the Ethics Committee doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either. This latest revelation is yet another piece in the Ukraine impeachment saga. Like a total moron, Nunes has made himself a potential fact witness. Add in his public statements and he is in the one in a box. I am not sure if Schiff would want to hear from him under oath or if that is even possible but all he needs is Parnas. I would bet that Schiff’s staff has been on on speed dial with Parnas’ attorney since this latest story broke. I don’t see why that would preclud an Ethics referral as well but that doesn’t have to affect Schiff’s continuing inquiry. The SDNY is another story. That would have to be resolved before making any move.

    The D’s need to learn how to play hardball. It’s all the Repubs play and the D’s need to do the same and then some. Schiff has demonstrated he is smart as hell and can handle the lunatics on his Committee. Just let him keep going. He will win this fight if it stays in his court and the relevant information keeps flowing in public proceedings. Sending this to the Senate is what the Repubs want. Don’t take the bait.

    • Leila512 says:

      I totally agree that this should stay in HPSCI and with Schiff–to continue uncovering witnesses and facts. I’m afraid of it even going to Nadler/Judiciary as he has consistently had trouble managing the committee and their Rule 660 allows for Trump representation/witnesses. I fear it’ll turn into a circus before it even gets to the Senate.
      But, on the other hand, I know Pelosi & Schiff are smarter strategists than am I, trust their judgement and am therefore stuck in a state of ambivalence.

  9. LaNita Jones says:

    And of course all involved would understand the ramifications that Pete Sessions was part of that shellacking. Committee assignments and so forth. Subcommittees.

    It is the Radcliffe Perry subcommitte energy works they had been working that fits the timeline and subject matter as well.

    Let me try to go see if I can pull up that reporting from The Hill to see if others have been tickled by such connection as well. Something about the creation of a new department within Energy. Needing 69 million. Something like that. Appropriation.

    • LaNita Jones says:

      Maybe it is nothing but something about trying to get this “new office” manufactured up in this timeline seems relavent:

      “Energy Department creates new office for Cyber Energy Security”

      Happy Valentine’s Day. The Hill. 2/14/18

      Then followup article 3/25/18.

      Then kinda poof, except for a shitty looking and quickly contrived designed page at DOE for this “new office”.

  10. Mooser says:

    Did I hear Jordan or one the other Repubs give a shout out to Solomon and Vogel for the ‘work they did on this story’? I believe I did.

  11. Nehoa says:

    Thank you Marcy for the analysis and sensible recommendations (as always!).
    Nunes involvement in this conspiracy promotion underscores how deeply the GOP has become a tool of Russian security services. Report from NYT on IC briefing of Senators on Russian disinformation campaign re Ukraine involvement in 2016 election meddling should have brought a stop to GOPers promoting that disinformation. But no…Grassley and Johnson are keeping at it.
    The Dems need to push the concept that not only what Trump did is impeachable, it also was done in service of Putin. Continued GOP echoing of the disinformation is a betrayal of our country, and a vote against removing Trump from office is a vote of support for Russian interests. The closing argument to the Senate should be that there is no doubt about what Trump did. The issue is whether Senators will support the United States and democracy…or Russia and Vladimir Putin. A vote to acquit means the R next to a Senator’s name stands for Russia.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

    Sacha Baron Cohen, quoting Voltaire, from his recent speech on social media, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook and other predatory giants. Another quote, especially useful in assessing the MSM’s addiction to bothsiderism. From Edward R. Murrow, who took on McCarthy:

    “One cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument.”

    The text of his speech is here:

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Silicon Six: “Zuckerberg at Facebook, Sundar Pichai at Google, at its parent company Alphabet, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Brin’s ex-sister-in-law, Susan Wojcicki at YouTube and Jack Dorsey at Twitter.”

      The Silicon Six – all billionaires, all Americans – who care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy. This is ideological imperialism – six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law. It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire, and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar. At least that would explain his haircut.

      • P J Evans says:

        Most of them don’t show up in the news often enough for me to recognize their faces, but Zuck has one that looks like it’s never been lived in.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “The ultimate aim of society should be to make sure that people are not targeted, not harassed and not murdered because of who they are, where they come from, who they love or how they pray.”

      Hard to argue with that…unless you’re the Silicon Six and many like them. They would seem to prefer that the ultimate aim of society be to make and keep them rich beyond measure.

    • harpie says:

      I’m just skimming through comment sections from this whirlwind week and can’t believe I missed this!
      Thanks, earl!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Vienna has been a meeting place between East and West for centuries. But the actors involved here have no obvious reason to meet there, instead of Ukraine or the US, except to keep their meetings secret from their own side.

  13. MattyG says:

    Nunes has been one of DTs top congressional lieutenants on the Russian Front since the Mueller days. It seems inconceivable that he is a mere idological warrior – Kremlin fingerprints over all this.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      She has to be in all our prayers, whom ever they are made to. If Trump gets another SC appointment we are in long term serious trouble.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    An important perspective the Democrats should consider, as they go about picking their presidential nominee for 2020:

    They knew that their political project depended not on compromising with their enemies but on defeating them.

    It describes the Congress that impeached Andrew Johnson in 1868. A reasonably busy one, it “managed to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, send the Fifteenth Amendment to the state legislatures, pass three comprehensive Reconstruction acts, and impeach the president, all within one term.”

  15. BobPDX says:

    I’m just surprised that there hasn’t been more talk about the Vienna aspect of this story, seeing as how it’s where Firtash hangs his hat.

  16. harpie says:

    The dynastic seat of the Hapsburg empire [also Habsburg] was in Vienna, [except for a short time in Prague].

    Why did Paul Manafort name his group of grifters the Hapsburg Group?

    About a month ago, Marcy wrote:


    […] Later in February [2018], after Mueller unveiled Rick Gates’ cooperation and made it clear he was pursuing another of the vehicles Manafort used to hide his influence operations, the Hapsburg Group, he and Kilimnik reached out to key players in that influence operation (who, unbeknownst to Manafort, had already been cooperating for some time) in an attempt to get them to lie about the influence operation. Those contacts, over Telegram and WhatsApp, took place between February 24 and 28. […]

  17. Krisy Gosney says:

    I’m wondering lately if Lev hasn’t been ‘instructed’ to spill some beans? Which is a win win for Putin. Either Rs not caught and Putin wins more influence through blackmail material and more Rs to be blackmailed. Or Rs caught and Putin wins through the turmoil of impeachment, scandal, disillusionment, etc that Lev’s dirty details and name-naming will cause.

  18. harpie says:
    6:24 AM – 24 Nov 2019

    […] Schiff says on @CNNSotu he’s not a fact witness and if GOP demands he testify it will show they are not serious. “There’s nothing for me to testify” to. He also declines to weigh in on allegation Nunes sought dirt from Ukraine. Says if true then it’s a matter for Ethics Committee […]

  19. joel fisher says:

    Is it bad luck to look over the horizon? At some point, I think it’s worth considering the extent to which a Democratic victory in 2020 could result in criminal charges for Trump and his rat pack (those not yet charged). The pattern is clear: do stuff that’s either across the line or very near it, then lie about it and otherwise obstruct a legitimate investigation. This has happened with breathtaking regularity, the latest outrage stealing the newsworthyness of the last. So, assuming a positive outcome in 2020, will there be criminal charges? I hope so; but I’m not certain a large scale criminal–think dozens of Italian Mafiosi in a Rome Courtroom –trial is a good president to set. It’s impossible for me to imagine that Barr has not slowed the Parnas, Fruman, Guilliani , Ukraine et al dumpster fire. His stated position that it’s perfectly legal to use money and property of the US to induce foreign governments to help political campaigns is dead wrong, but not a crime to believe and act on. Parnas and Fruman must wonder (Parnas looks like he’s always wondering; Fruman,on the other hand, looks like he’s figured things out and the answer is kill somebody) at the sheer looniness of the US: doing the evil thing itself is fine; but paying for it–especially with cash–is not. Oh, the stories they could tell.

  20. Chaparral says:

    The real question for Parnas is how and when he reported back to Firtash, and through him Mogilevich, that the system was in place to weaponize the Biden kompromat when it arrived. Remember that Parnas and Fruman work for Firtash as much as for Rudy. He has to make progress reports to Firtash.

    We have not seen the Biden kompromat because Trump and co. have not delivered on all of their part of the deal. The ambassador is gone, crippling the civil society NGOs in the Ukraine. So far, so good. But until the weakened board at Naftogaz is installed allowing the Russian mafia to re-install their skimming operation, the deal is not finished. When that happens, we’ll see the Biden dirt.

    At it’s heart, this is bargain between Trump and the Russian mafia.

  21. Terry Lo says:

    This is very good.
    I hope my reply isn’t off-topic.

    The sad reality is, when I ran it by the QAnon’s and Trumpers in my circle, they responded with conspiracy theories. Why is truth so difficult for these people?

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