It Was All [Fruman’s] Contacts in Ukraine

During his media blitz, Lev Parnas has focused mostly on the people he needs to implicate to better his own outcome: President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and Joe DiGenova, along with Bill Barr who — Parnas seems to be suggesting — is protecting the others in the SDNY investigation, if not Barr himself.

There’s been virtually no mention of his primary alleged co-conspirator, Igor Fruman. Indeed, in the first of two Maddow broadcasts, Fruman’s name only appears twice, when Maddow raised it.

But Parnas made a single very provocative mention of Fruman in his otherwise unremarkable Anderson Cooper interview that aired last night.

In discussing who he was speaking to in Ukraine, he suggested those people were all Fruman’s contacts.

COOPER: You’ve been described — the position you ended up with Giuliani, you’ve described as a fixer for Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens. Is that accurate?

PARNAS: I don’t know what you call a fixer. I mean, I was —

COOPER: Arrange meetings, conduct meetings —

PARNAS: Yes. I mean, that’s exactly what I did. I mean, I was the middleman between two worlds.

Here I was, I had a partner in Igor Fruman that grew up in Ukraine, had extensive business there. And because of his businesses, he knew all kinds of people that were, you know, politicians —

COOPER: He had — he had the contacts.

PARNAS: It was all his contacts. I didn’t have any contacts in Ukraine. I don’t have any contacts in Ukraine. [my emphasis]

Parnas goes immediately from claiming he was relying on Fruman’s comments to telling the story that he otherwise has stuck to: these people took his calls because he would claim he was calling on behalf of the most powerful man in the world, the President of the United States, then put the President’s lawyer on speaker phone to verify himself.

COOPER: For a guy who does not have contacts in Ukraine, you were able to get meetings with a lot of very important people in Ukraine. Why was that?

PARNAS: Well, I mean, if the president of the United States tells them to meet with you, I think anybody will meet with you.

Fruman is virtually absent from Parnas’ media blitz narrative except for that moment where Parnas hinted that Fruman’s contacts were a key part of the grift.

This WaPo story from yesterday provides one hint about what kind of contacts Fruman might have. As Fruman tells it (rather dubiously), he “happened to” run into someone in a lobby in Kyiv — who by implication though the story doesn’t make this 100% clear, appears to be Dmytro Firtash’s associate and alleged Moldovan fraudster Dmitry Torner  — which led to a meeting with Rudy in Paris.

Giuliani’s introduction to Firtash’s network began in May. That’s when Fruman told a person familiar with his account that he happened to run into a friend in the lobby of a Kyiv hotel who could get to Firtash.

Torner worked as the head of the analytics department at an electricity and gas distribution company in Ukraine owned by Firtash, according to public records and information he later provided election officials in Ukraine when he launched a bid for the parliament as part of a pro-Russian political party.

Representatives of Firtash declined to comment on Torner’s role.

On the eve of parliamentary elections in July, Ukrainian authorities announced that Torner had been disqualified because officials had discovered that he held multiple fraudulent Ukrainian passports under various names.

According to Ukraine’s Security Service, Torner is a citizen of Moldova named Dmitry Nekrasov who was wanted for escaping incarceration in his home country and changed his name to start a new life in Ukraine.

[snip]

In late May, a few weeks after Fruman told an associate that he encountered Torner in Kyiv, Giuliani met with the Firtash executive in the private cigar bar of the luxury hotel Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, according to people familiar with the encounter.

That led to the June meeting that Fruman and Parnas had in Vienna with Firtash himself, where they offered a quid pro quo on behalf of the President of the United States, trading some kind of cure for Firtash’s criminal problems in the US in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden and Paul Manafort.

The OCCRP report included in the whistleblower complaint speaks at more length about the kinds of contacts Fruman has in Ukraine.

Fruman, 53, has spent much of his career in Ukraine, and has ties to a powerful local businessman reputed to be in the inner circle of one of the country’s most infamous mafia groups.

[snip]

His network of businesses extends from the United States to the city of Odesa, a Ukrainian Black Sea port notorious for corruption and organized crime.

Reporters found that Fruman has personal ties to a powerful local: Volodymyr “The Lightbulb” Galanternik, a shadowy businessman commonly referred to as the “Grey Cardinal” of Odesa.

Galanternik is described by local media and activists as a close associate of Gennadiy Trukhanov, the mayor of Odesa who was shown in the late 1990s to be a senior member of a feared organized criminal group involved in fuel smuggling and weapons trading.

Galanternik also owns a luxury apartment in the same London building as the daughter of another leader in the gang, Aleksander “The Angel” Angert, OCCRP has previously reported.

Vitaly Ustymenko, a local civic activist, describes Galanternik as an overseer of the clique’s economic domination of the city.

“[Galanternik] is not ‘one of the’ — he is actually the most powerful guy in Odesa, and maybe in the region,” Ustymenko said.

Fruman’s recent ex-wife, Yelyzaveta Naumova, is the self-declared best friend of Galanternik’s wife, Natasha Zinko, according to her Instagram posts. Galanternik and Zinko also celebrated the New Year in 2016 with the Frumans in South Florida, according to a photo posted online by an acquaintance of Fruman.

Galanternik’s name is seldom tied directly to his businesses. Instead he operates via a network of offshore companies and trusted proxy individuals. But there are signs that either Fruman or his long-standing local partner, Serhiy Dyablo, may have a business relationship with Galanternik via two Odesa firms (see box).

This suggests that Parnas’ role in the grift was creating the echo chamber, while Fruman’s — who reportedly is in a joint defense agreement with Rudy — was in connecting Rudy to the network of sketchy characters, including organized crime, who would be willing to lie to reverse efforts to combat corruption in Ukraine.

But the role of Furman’s network of sketchy businessmen may explain a few other details. It may explain, for example, why Parnas was spreading false rumors about Marie Yovanovitch nine months before he created the echo chamber on the frothy right that he now blames for his negative comments about her.

Lev Parnas has a story to tell in which everything he did, he did at the behest of the President of the United States, working through the President’s addled lawyer Rudy Giuliani. In that story, there is no network in Ukraine, and it’s only the heft of the President of the United States that gets him meetings with some very powerful, but very corrupt, characters.

But that story ignores the events — at the center of his existing indictment — by which Parnas and Fruman bought their way into being key players in Trump’s network. It ignores hows they donated $325,000 to Trump’s SuperPAC immediately after first inciting Trump to fire Marie Yovanovitch, long before Joe Biden had announced he was running for President.

And it ignores that network of mobbed up Ukrainian businessmen who would have real incentive to reverse anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.

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78 replies
  1. ThomasH says:

    Wow! Lev is juggling a lot of balls in the air now, everything except the connection to the mobsters in Ukraine and Russia.

  2. SomeGuyInMaine says:

    Interesting. I take everything Parnas says with skepticism, but this point (it was all Fruman’s contacts) better explains a few things.

    First off it make more sense Parnas would be the one to flip. He may be a grifter, but he may not be as deeply connected to org crime as Fruman might be. Fruman true to mob form remains silent.

    If Fruman has the more sketchy past and connections that match, it makes sense Parnas is more the front man, visible one. Fruman wasn’t invisible, but he seemed a lot less visible.

    It can be true that both Trump/Guliani connections and Fruman connections got Parnas meetings. Different types of connections, different types of meetings.

    Still waiting for more docs to come out, which they will. So many threads to follow up.

  3. dude says:

    Reading (probably too much) between the lines:

    If Trump were really bothered by Marie Yovanovitch, he could have fired her with a phone call. Why didn’t he just do that instead of going through all the gymnastics?

    We know the Ukrainian mob and previous government did not like her and other anti-corruption officials representing the US.

    Rudy was free, and Manafort was in trouble already or in jail. But Rudy wanted to be Mini-Manafort in order to aid President Trump and to make a few bucks. Who knows–maybe he thought he could get Manafort out from under his obligations to Russian oligarchs, stand-up guy that he is.

    So Rudy enlists Igor (who came by who’s reference?) and Lev (who came by who’s money?).

    By-and-by, Rudy explains to the President it works better for everyone if Yovanovitch is discredited rather than simply removed; she represents a whole State Department that wants to deter corruption. Take them all out. Free-up the corruption. Cash will flow, deals will happen far into the future, and you win big points with Putin.

    Plus, you get to humiliate and torture a woman (something Trump can’t pass up).

    The President signs on. Sondland, Pompeo and others are brought in incrementally—Trump thinks they are insulators as well as enablers.

    Whistle-blower blows it all up.

    This may not be a worthy speculation for legal purposes (I am not a lawyer), but it makes an interesting screenplay.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      I like these questions: …Igor (who came by who’s reference?) and Lev (who came by who’s money?)…

      There’s so much more to know.

      • MattyG says:

        Team DT was being gently herded by Kremlin backed Ukrainian operators, in the hopes of scoring an outright pro-Russian victory in the Ukraine, but also to further compromise team DT by luring them further and further down the rabbit hole…

    • Augie says:

      It’s Rudy’s long quest to seek vengeance against Biden that fed his obsession with getting access in the Ukraine. It was Biden’s debate jibe about Rudy’s incessant speeches consisting of “Noun, verb, 9/11” that – to this day – infuriated Rudy and put him on the quest to make Biden’s life a living hell, and if not him, his progeny or anyone in the Biden fold. There is a Ukraine two-fer in all of this: he, as well as other Trump robber barons and wanna’ be robber barons, were attempting to be appointed as rape & pillage rulers for the Ukrainian gov’t’s natural gas industry. In order to do that, they needed corruption to flourish in the Ukraine, not be eradicated by the likes of our ousted Ambassador.

      • Earthworm says:

        There’s something to augie’s second point, about the “rape & pillage rulers for Ukrainian gov’t’s natural gas industry”:
        To me it looks as if it is all about the big prize, the natural gas and who will control it. In print no one is “thinking upstream” and openly asking what is driving so much effortful, intricate plotting.
        It must be something bigger than Biden, the ambassador, or other petty details.

  4. Stew McF says:

    After watching the Parnas interviews I forced myself to watch all three hours of the Rudy G. OAN thing to get the other side.

    Take aways:
    1. Rudy is constantly juggling three phone just like that rather unflattering profile piece reported a few weeks ago.
    2. For long stretches of his “witnesses'” answers he was rooting around in his bag and breathing heavily on a hot mic. It’s like he read his lines and didn’t care about the answers.
    3. I can’t help but feel this all goes back to Manafort. Rudy G. got Manafort’s Rolodex and went looking for a way to discredit the black ledger to spring Manafort – and as a side benefit make the whole Mueller thing moot while fluffing Trump’s ego. Trump, a lazy grifter (perhaps with diminished mental capacity), was primed to hate the Ukrainian ambassador by way of Parnas and Rudy, via Manafort.

    Pure fan fiction here, but the Guliani propaganda piece really was a heaping serving of WTF.

    • General Sternwood says:

      As with Cohen, there is a point where the narrative gets close to players in Ukraine and Russia, and Parnas clams up. He doesn’t mind taking on politicals in the US, but players like Firtash or Kolomoyskyi and their Russian connections are much too dangerous to flip on.

        • Buford says:

          I was just wondering, if the latest flying lessons from a five story window in Moscow, was a clear message to anyone who chooses to cross Vladdy Daddy….Mobsters will be mobsters….

    • Augie says:

      Don’t forget….Rudy has a major debt owed to the Russian mob and its members such as Manafort. It was the Russian mob that inherited the turf of the Italian mobs they snitched on to U.S. Attorney of New York = Rudy …. who made his claim to fame for sending the dons of five mafia families to prison.

    • Kelly says:

      I made myself watch most of the Rudy OANN interview too. WTF is an understatement and I had to keep reminding myself, this is who POTUS’ wants in a personal attorney. What’s more is that all Trump’s supporters watched that interview full of propaganda and believe it.
      This whole Ukraine scheme orchestrated by Trump & co is something that happens in authoritarian governments. This is surreal.

      • Stew McF says:

        I get a kick out of conservative propaganda pieces. I’ve seen a couple on the liberal side that make me groan with a bit too much inferred conspiracy theory (Outfoxed? A few others during the Bush wars), but the conservative side is just batshit insane.

        I remember one with Ben Stein that had a herd of zombies to somehow prove taxes are always bad. Another was pro intelligent design that was little more than a succession of swirling colors and lights that somehow prove various points. Perhaps it was intended to hypnotize rather than inform.

        It’s frightening that a significant chunk of the country would look at this stuff and find equivalency with hard reporting and science.

    • Xboxershorts says:

      Item #3 is, I believe, the key. This Ukraine scandal thngy, it started almost immediately following the general election.

      It was, IMHO, initiated in order to clear Russia and Implicate Ukraine instead in the election meddling of 2016.
      And it makes sense to me now, that Amb Yovanovitch would be a natural enemy to this shifting of blame effort.
      Manafort and the Black Ledger being cleared may have been desired sub-scripts for Firtash in this international caper,
      knowing that Manafort owed Firtash a shit ton of money, but it now seems to me that the primary goal was to implicate Ukraine and clear Russia of the 2016 election hacking and meddling.

      Yes, there’s a lot that Parnas is not telling. And he has deep roots in America. So Parnas may still be protecting other actors currently in the US as well. And now, knowing his ties to TrumpWorld began when he was 16…I wonder what other skeevy, sketchy, illegal activity has yet to see the light of day that came from his employment there.

      But Fruman, now, is the interesting inter-connect. I would really like to know what it was that brought he and Parnas together.

      Yes…to me this story is much more sinister when I acknowledge that this all began with Russia’s need to shift blame and responsibility onto Ukraine.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        This quote from the book by Rucker and Leonnig, “A Very Stable Genius”, is really all we need to know to explain Trump’s Ukraine ploy:
        ““It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump whines to a group of aides.”
        All this guy understands is corruption – so he is compelled to corrupt everyone and everything he touches – and everything he does is based on corrupt intent.

        • P J Evans says:

          Most businesses who know about doing businesses with corrupt governments also know enough to hide the bribes in “expenses” of some kind. Trmp used to know that – look at where some of “his” hotels are.

          • Hika says:

            I’m surprised there hasn’t been more mention lately of Princess Ivanka’s stranded hotel development in Baku that involved friends of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

  5. Jim White says:

    Fruman has remained quite a puzzle to me because he’s stayed so silent and he conducted his life prior to this a LOT more quietly. It appears that he’s very effective at what he does, although just by the nature of the business he is in and where he conducts it that there’s almost no way he isn’t mobbed up since he’s been moderately successful.

    Parnas, on the other hand, comes off as a much more midsized grifter, constantly reinventing himself and moving from profession to profession. Even though he leaves a fairly obvious trail of “start it and then don’t do further paperwork” previous business ventures, he still manages to get people to put up remarkable amounts of money to start the next one. To keep going so long in this vein, he’s clearly very skilled at high level bullshit to get people to jump into giving him money despite obvious signs they should find with even the most basic investigation of him.

  6. Vicki Greenberg says:

    So if I am not mistaken John Dowd represented Parnas and Fruman in their plan set up a deal to replace the CEO at Naftagaz?
    “A shakedown” is what I believe the CEO at the time called it.
    I am pretty sure in one of the interviews I watch Parnas claimed he didn’t know who Dowd was and add two minutes for embellishment after Parnas went on to say how thrilled he was when Trump approved one of own lawyers to represent him.
    I know there was an investigation into Rick Perry’s influencing decisions to place both Trump’s and his own personal donors on the board at the Ukraine gas company Naftagaz and while we are talking about Perry (and Naftagaz) there was also a bit of an uproar when Perry’s pal Bletzer”won” that giant gas contract from Ukraine.
    Bleyzer is the primary funder of something called the “US -Ukraine Business Council.”
    Bleyzer has ties to Guiliani.
    I have no clue how it all ties together, but this is just a small example of those who would have a vested interest in getting rid of Marie Yovonavitch.
    While his accusation is thrilling every anti-Trumper I know, Parna’s attempt to pin it all on Trump’s demand to investigate Biden seems to simplistic (and really, really ballsy) when looking at the billions (of dollars) of other reasons.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there Vicks, why are you suddenly using a different name? And, yes, you are mistaken, Dowd represented them extremely briefly for criminal I/A purposes until they got separate counsel, and not to do with Naftagasz as far as I am aware. That is not really what Dowd does.

      • P J Evans says:

        Maybe she’s on a different browser than usual. (I have four names saved in mine. The other three are for a site where commenters flag spam with their username.)

        • bmaz says:

          We are extremely consistent in this regard. Marcy, Rayne, Jim, Ed and I have managed to be consistent since we started. You are able to. Most everybody is.

          • P J Evans says:

            I have to check most of the time. (And the other site uses another email address. Sometimes I get the wrong one.)
            You’d likely be very confused if you got [name] ‘is be-gnomed’ – that’s a signal that there’s a comment stuck in moderation.

      • vicks says:

        Sorry, filling in the required box that ask for “name” each time one posts can seem like a trick question to me when I’m not giving it my full attention
        Especially with auto-fill. (I have to override it each time)
        It’s not the first time, I will be more careful.
        and
        Yes, I have been doing more reading and just caught that I was wrong about Dowd, that’s actually one the reasons I came back to this site. First to clarify my mistake and then to remind people of the multiple reportings that it was Perry that suggested Trump’s call to Zelenski, and to perhaps consider who was on this supposedly larger than normal list of people listening in on the call.
        Like many, I am incredibly suspicious of Parnas throwing this bone to the Democrats.
        It seems like a huge risk to cross DJT.
        One explanation COULD be that Parnas feels there is a larger power protecting him

        • bmaz says:

          Vicks, no problem. We know who you are. But we harp about this to others, and so try to be consistent.

          And there is every reason in the world to be dubious about what Parnas is doing. There are more questions than answers on that front.

  7. timbo says:

    Does anyone have a large board list of who Fruman and Parnas, either together or separately, were in contact with from 2017 on? There’s a lot of pictures out there but does anyone have a blow-by-blow work up to their arrests (and afterwards) with regard to who they were in contact with and when? It would be very interesting to see a reverse engineered daily planner for each of these two guys…

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In unrelated news, I’m pleased to see that science guy bmaz remembers Avogadro’s number, though I always thought it was 6.023 x 10 to the twenty-third, not 6.022. My bad. What are the odds he can persuade Mrs. bmaz that Trader Joe’s, Avocado’s Number, is marketing hype for geeks and not real guacamole?

  9. Eureka says:

    Consistent with your framing these last few posts on the whole chatty Lev situation, Parnas did generate Fruman’s name (by Igor) once in the first Maddow interview: to try to dump the responsibility for Hyde onto him. Parnas’s garbles there make no sense; it seems he’s trying to conceal the truth, perhaps how they were both working Hyde (or simply to defer further questions). Also, besides contradicting himself multiple times on the Hyde front, he appears to be conflating March and May events to Maddow when he says he dispatched with Hyde (in March, ‘disturbed’ yet totally not believing Hyde’s surveillance texts, then alluding to what sounds like Hyde’s May breakdown — but maybe Hyde had extended bouts of “paranoia”).

    I am a bit on the Hyde beat, and if Parnas isn’t trying to gaslight the daylights out of Hyde and us on that, I’d be quite shocked. As to the apparent surveillance of Yovanovitch, I am still not sure if they were trying to “make” Hyde by having him participate in some fake-enough bad act, or if they were using him as a pass-through to try to keep their phones from being picked up in contact with a foreign number. Some things in the doc dumps — and Parnas’s demeanor, conflicting statements, and linking of Fruman to Hyde — make me wonder if something real was going on (and per a video I’ll add next, it seems Hyde thinks he _was_ involved in something sketchy there).

    • Eureka says:

      Hartford Courant journalist Christopher Keating posted a video clip earlier Friday and an interview (article) late last night:

      “Exclusive video of Connecticut landscaper Robert Hyde regarding controversy with Trump, Giuliani, Lev Parnas and ambassador to Ukraine; denies any involvement in surveillance and will continue his race for Congress in 5th district against Democrat Jahana Hayes [embedded video]”
      https://twitter.com/chrispkeating/status/1218330458003390464

      Hyde throws-open his upper face when he denies surveilling Yovanovitch; I don’t believe him, think he at least believes he did something wrong.

      Simsbury landscaper Robert Hyde at center of Ukraine controversy says he’s innocent
      https://www.courant.com/politics/capitol-watch/hc-pol-how-i-talked-to-robert-hyde-20200118-qiwmgqlsqja4jdo2npaunzyeqi-story.html

    • Eureka says:

      Since Hyde could be FOS here, I’m omitting the tweet text. It’s re an associate of Anthony De Caluwe, who Hyde was taking messages from, re Yovanovitch to send to Parnas, per the docs released Friday (and Hyde’s self-report). There’s a thread from March 8th, high up in the replies, on the Palm Beach realtor he mentions — it’s also on Cindy Yang of Mar-a-Lago fame. FYI for anyone who may be investigating this (it may go with stuff Jim has reported on).
      https://twitter.com/rfhyde1/status/1218250122074710017

        • Mitch Neher says:

          Eureka said, “. . . or if they were using him [Hyde] as a pass-through to try to keep their phones from being picked up in contact with a foreign number.”

          Your Option 2, above, seems consistent with what’s been reported thus far.

          A little bit of interrogation should get Hyde to admit to that, if that was the role he played in the. . . (what did he call it) . . . “political games with these people you meet at the fundraisers.” Or words to that effect.

          • Eureka says:

            I think we’re on the same page, though until more evidence appears, I leave open the options of: (1) bumblefuckery; (2) “games”*.

            Merely shades of gray at this point.

            *and not “games” as Hyde seems to mean, from your quote.

            • Mitch Neher says:

              I was paraphrasing from the Keating story in the Hartford Courant. Here’s the actual quote:

              Hyde added, “I never pictured anything was real … Who would be surveilling a U.S. ambassador? Who could do that? I’m a Simsbury landscaper that got into the politics games in D.C. on a national level – the swamp. I never imagined these jokers that you meet at fundraisers. Legit people were like, Rob – pulled me aside – stay away from these people. I never thought anything they were saying was real.”

              If Hyde was acting as a pass-through for . . . “foreign phone number laundering” . . . then he would have to have known that that was what he was doing.

              When Hyde claims that he never thought it was “real,” well . . .Of course he would say that. Wouldn’t he?

    • Eureka says:

      Trump properties are just places where Q folks with enough cash or credit to afford a drink can gather and LARP the destruction of our democracy.

      That was the take-home I got from all of the scads of pictures/ photo-ops, document releases, and each of the players, to a fault, basically saying they have these relationships because “they were around the [Trump] bar.”

      That’s my epitaph for the week that was.

      • Eureka says:

        And how they all, also to a near fault, say things like “everybody/ powerful person X told me to stay away from him” — about each other, after the turn.

        They are *winning* at junior high school.

        • P J Evans says:

          Most of the kids I went to school with were – and are – smart enough to know that if someone tells you to stay away from someone, it’s a good idea to stay away from them.

          • Eureka says:

            Bell curve and all, I think Trumplandia collects some tails. Probably not many normal distributions there (especially since the purported advice givers are in cahoots, best I can tell from the various accounts I read). Call it Stabby-Back JHS, Machiavellian manipulation, lubricated or load-lightened by liquor.

            The gist I get of the ‘stay-away’ orders is that they came at convenient times re convenient people to dissuade asking questions or otherwise knowing too much, reputation-levelling, and stuff like that.

            • Eureka says:

              And just to clarify given that unfortunately-named infamous book, I mean distributions of, e.g., personality traits, not smarts per se.

  10. Eureka says:

    Just a couple thoughts on last night’s documents: (1) Vogel (and the NYT) must be so proud that his and Mendel’s May 1 handiwork gets passed along with Solomon pieces from Parnas to Harvey to set up the GOP’s shadow “investigation” (at PDF 14 of link below); (2) how odd that the passport front pages of Mykola Zlochevskyi (the owner of Burisma) get sandwiched between duplicates of the first page of Kulyk’s CV (items apparently sent by Parnas to Harvey but not clear when, PDF 19 of link below). That just seemed especially creepy.

    https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/document_production_lev_parnas_january_17_2020_whatsapp_excerpts_harvey_with_attachments.pdf

  11. Jasper vail says:

    Parnas and Fruman worked their way in to the Trump circle starting with some big donations. It all snowballed from there. Are we looking at this the wrong way around? Where did that money come from? And why? Did someone insert them there to accomplish something completely different, starting with ousting the ambassador? In other words, was Trump the mark, not the mastermind?

  12. dude says:

    Wondering about why Parnas is making a show of what he knows when SDNY is breathing down his neck, Lucian Truscott has an article in Salon which I saw excerpted at Raw Story. This passage interested me:

    “Parnas knows why he is facing federal charges for the political donation nobody complained about until the whistleblower exposed Trump’s corrupt call to Zelensky. “[Attorney General] Barr is a tool of the president,” he said the other night. This week we also learned that Barr has former FBI Director James Comey under investigation, in addition to the investigations he has ordered against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the entire investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump has finally found his Roy Cohn. We now have the kind of corrupt attorney general that Yuri Lutsenko and Viktor Shokin were in Ukraine.”

    So he thinks he became a liability after the whistle is blown, Barr focuses SDNY on his campaign offenses to reign him in so that Trump’s legal team could rope him into a joint-defense agreement and shield what he knows about Biden/Burisma shenanigans from prying public eyes, but he thinks he is being set-up as the fall-guy or at least as a straw-man to deflect some attention away from the White House. At least that is what I infer from reading Truscott’s piece. Question to the lawyers out there: is this a plausible explanation for his media behavior? When he says he fears Barr most, he is saying he believes SDNY is being used by Barr to nail him on campaign finance charges. He doesn’t talk about them because he may indeed be guilty, but he believes that is a forgone conclusion even if he is not guilty. So he throws dirt at Barr by associating him with Biden/Barisma. Would Parnas’ lawyer buy into this? —and is the scenario so implausible with respect to Barr after all ?

  13. Bay State Librul says:

    Rats!
    I don’t mean to piss BMAZ off, but this is beginning to look like a
    Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, Jimmy “the Clam”, and Sammy “the Bull” moment…
    The US government cannot survive an ongoing criminal enterprise.
    Barr, Pompeo, Giuliani, and the whole gang of racketeering criminals are roaming the streets seeking the ruin of the Republic.

  14. Che says:

    I’m so glad the bankrupt propaganda outlets have latched onto Parnas. If one were charitable they would say it’s a marriage made in BS. Ask yourself this, hasn’t the general public seen enough slimy, Lawfare coached and thoroughly compromised cutouts yet? This has gone on for going on 2 years now. As if the garish display of barely concealed brainwashing wasn’t obvious during Kavanagh, we all certainly had more than enough during the Circe de Schiff & Nadler. Is Fiona Hill gender specific or just a an agent of the Crown? Vindman future defense minister of Ukraine in his own mind. The ever missing Eric the half bee CIA something, Kent a symbol of all that is wrong with the State Department…yes bring it on, bring on Parnas the smoking gun according the desperate, delerious and deranged still sucking on the crackpipe of Trump “resistance’. Who I guess will finally realize how on the wrong side of history they are and how few of them are left a little later in the year when we see an election win that leaves a just handful of corrupt, crime and disease ridden urban centres voting blue

    • Rayne says:

      Letting this through because every once in a while community members need to see what kind of wacky stuff arrives in the bin.

      Speaking of illicit drug use, put your substance of choice down and take a breath. Welcome (back) to emptywheel, second user from this overseas network address range.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        He misspelled Kavanaugh.

        He seems to think that the Crown of England is NOT gender fluid.

        When did Putin become the right side history in Che’s imagination?

      • Che says:

        The pleasure is all mine.
        One thing I could never reconcile was why all those NatSec focussed Trump resisters cheering the Demodunce Ukrainian Impeachment debacle never stopped to question a couple of glaring anomolies. For example, how a Ukrainian born Lt. Col Vindman, could simultaneously serve in the NSC whilst apparently courting multiple offers to be DefMin of Ukraine? Because, which ever direction you view that self confessed clanger from, it reeks of potential compromise, dual loyalties and self delusion. But in the breathless rush to hear his testimony it seems none of this is of any import at all.

        Of course, there’s the alleged female operative known as Fiona Hill. Take a moment to read her bio and imagine the howls of laughter emanating from a hallway deep inside MI6. It’s a fairy tale of Dickensian poverty magically transformed by access to Oxford, obligatory Russian posting then a whirl of doors opening before her in the US. Again, there she is in the NSC. But who cares right? At least there’s an MI6 Crown Agent amidst all the CIA types. Diversity!

        As the plug gets pulled to drain the fetid Ukraine swamp, there’s also the curious tale of Robert Storch IG of the NSA. One would have thought he’d have his work cut out dealing with the FISA issues. Apparently not. Storch is another Ukrainophile who has multiple dealings stretching back many years. So does his lovely wife Sara M Lord. In fact there is speculation Sara may have been running a team of law graduates in the lead up to the 2016 election who may have been digging dirt on Trump and passing their finding to Ms Chalupa. Or they may have simply been troll commenters…I’m betting on the former. Back to Mr Storch, who could believe that he the IG of the NSA actually applied for the relatively lowly position of Auditor at NABU in March 2017? How odd. He even did a skype interview in front of parliament that was broadcast live on Ukrainian TV. But no-one is accusing him of perhaps hoping to “audit” NABU real good. No No, he loves Ukraine, is happy to take a massive salary cut and….yea he needs to be fired.

        See that’s the best thing about Trump, love him or hate him he’s exposed so many bad apples. So many who should not be positions of security or power. Frankly I’m amazed that so called ‘natsec” patriots cheering any Trump resistance are missing just how deeply compromised these institutions have become.

  15. Bay State Librul says:

    Enter Lev Parnas.
    Let’s call him Rat#2.
    He looks like a henchman, but his interview with our gal Maddow paints a different portrait.
    There was a drug deal.
    Now, we have a cover-up
    You remember our first Rat?
    Trump fixer, Michael Cohen, now locked and chained in Cell No 777, at the Otisville Camp, serving a three term for lying, lying, and lying.
    According to court documents, Cohen cooperated and in turn provided “substantial assistance” naming Trump as King Pin #1
    Panas and Cohen are collateral damage.
    Folks, we are in deep do-do.
    Who will save us?
    Moscow Mitch signed a pact with the devil, Pompeo believes in the rapture, and John Bolton signed a $2 Million dollar book deal with Simon & Schuster
    John Dean, Watergate Savior, currently a CNN reporter, thinks Donald will be acquitted.
    Vegas is betting the same.
    The “perfect call” is now locked in a vault with 24 Brink’s armed guards providing around the clock security.
    God save the Commonwealth and the Republic!

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Excerpted from the article linked above:

        “In order to preserve our constitutional structure of government, to reject the poisonous partisanship that the Framers warned against, to ensure one-party political impeachment vendettas do not become ‘the new normal,’ and to vindicate the will of the American people, the Senate must reject both Articles of Impeachment,” they say. “In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote.”

        • Bay State Librul says:

          Yeah,

          Some days my wife has to walk me off the ledge.
          I am so up and down.
          I’m from the Watergate Era, and this is venomous.
          Where is our White Knight?

    • timbo says:

      Don’t know about all the rest but thanks for the reminder that we’re all still waiting for Bolton to speak.

  16. Earthworm says:

    There’s something to augie’s second point, about the “rape & pillage rulers for Ukrainian gov’t’s natural gas industry”:
    To me it looks as if it is all about the big prize, the natural gas and who will control it. Everything else is just, sarcastically speaking, minor details.

    • P J Evans says:

      That’s why Russia wants Ukraine so much: all the gas goes through there. Having people in the US who are willing to do the heavy lifting for them is so much easier.

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