Kevin Downing Was “in the Loop” of Silencing Lev Parnas on October 8

Lev Parnas’ lawyer, Joseph Bondy, continues his attack on those who scorned his client.

This afternoon, he posted an email dated October 8, 2019 7:06 AM that John Dowd — then ostensibly representing Parnas and Igor Fruman — sent to update a bunch of lawyers that his clients would send, “a letter to the intel committee to eliminate any doubt that Igor and Lev will appear to answer questions because we are not prepared to do so.”

Dowd, of course, had already first called, on September 30, then sent a letter, on October 3, to convey the same message. But he seemed to feel the need to do so again on October 8 (which may be part of the reason the White House released the intemperate Trump letter signed by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone).

He forwarded the email, with all recipients visible, to his clients a minute later.

The next day, Parnas and Fruman met with Rudy Giuliani at Trump hotel for lunch. That afternoon, Bill Barr visited SDNY. Hours later, Parnas and Fruman tried to board a plane to go to Vienna to tape an interview between Sean Hannity and Dmitro Firtash. They were arrested on charges that had been processing away in SDNY for months, ostensibly because SDNY feared they would flee, even though they had left the country numerous times while that investigation proceeded. Then, probably after Parnas and Fruman were arrested, Barr visited Rupert Murdoch personally. Hannity never went to Vienna. Nor did Rudy, who was supposed to meet Parnas and Fruman the next day.

According to public reports at the time, because they got arrested in EDVA, they needed a local lawyer to deal with their bail, so Paul Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing stepped in. Then, what must be the next day, Parnas fired both Dowd and Downing, because — he believed — they were telling him to take the fall for the President.

MADDOW: Mr. Dowd was your attorney for a time and then you changed attorneys.

PARNAS: I fired him in jail.

MADDOW: You fired him when you were in jail?


MADDOW: What happened there?

PARNAS: And Mr. Downing. Basically, when we were arrested, obviously, I had nowhere else to call. I didn`t know – we just retained Dowd and Downing. So I called Downing to come there and I started seeing in the process of the bail stuff the way things were going on that they were more concentrating on – I didn’t feel that they were trying to get me out, and at that point, I had a meeting with John Dowd and Downing inside the jail.

And John Dowd just instead of comforting me and, you know, trying to calm me down, telling me, like, it’s going to be OK, like, don’t worry, basically start talking to me like a drill sergeant and telling me, giving me orders, like, you know, be a good boy, like, you know.

MADDOW: He said “be a good boy”?

PARNAS: No, I don’t – I don’t want to quote him exactly on what the words, what he used in that because it was a while ago. I don’t remember exactly.

But it was – it was his condescending attitude toward basically, like, who do you think you are telling the president or Giuliani or anybody to, like, come out and because I – one of the things I said, I said, I can’t believe nobody is coming out in our defense and saying we didn’t do anything wrong, we’re good citizens, you know, we work.

And basically word for word, and then I said, if you don’t get out of here right now, something bad is going to happen because I don’t want to see the two of you.

And at that point, Downing hit the emergency button and the security took me out and took them out.

MADDOW: This is a very heated confrontation. You told Downing and Dowd to get out.

PARNAS: I threw them out.

MADDOW: Were they telling you to sacrifice yourself in order to protect the president?

PARNAS: That’s what I felt.

Here’s the thing. Downing was not — at least not publicly — representing Parnas and Fruman until and because they were detained in EDVA.

But he — Paul Manafort’s lawyer — was included in that email from Dowd on October 8, a day before they were arrested along with Trump’s lawyers, Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, and Rudy’s then lawyer Jon Sale.

Lev Parnas appears to believe he was arrested because it was a better way to keep him silent than telling Congress no.

And the inclusion of Kevin Downing in that October 8 email suggests he may well be right.

45 replies
  1. Woodspaths says:

    When they were arrested originally, I felt it was to get them under Barr’s thumb. I feel the same about Epstein who had his safe emptied and then everyone else knows the rest.

  2. Michael says:

    But wasn’t there good reason to think they might be trying to flee the country? And shouldn’t Barr have realized the judge might turn over the contents of Parnas’s phone to the House?

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      Barr&Co are used to steamrolling over all opposition. Must have been quite a shock when Parnas punched back, and hard. Makes me think of the more sympathetic mobsters in 1930s movies, Edward G Robinson. Well, maybe a little bit. I hope he BURNS Trump and Barr and all the rest of them. Burns them to the ground.

  3. Miguel says:

    “Downing was not — at least not publicly — representing Parnas and Fruman until and because they were detained in EDVA.” Not publicly, but doesn’t Parnas tell Maddow in the quoted material that as of his arrest he’d already retained both Dowd and Downing?

    I don’t think that changes how shady this is, nor does it undermine the (chilling) hypothesis that they were arrested when they were to keep them from cooperating in the House investigation.

    • cavenewt says:

      Help me out here. Wouldn’t the point of fleeing to Vienna on a one-way ticket be to escape having to cooperate?

      And if that was the case, perhaps Barr’s visit to SDNY would’ve been to prevent their arrest?

      Forgive me, I’m just a regular person not used to thinking in such nefarious convolutions.

  4. drouse says:

    That rearranges the narrative a bit. It could mean that Barr’s visit to SDNY wasn’t to get the info to warn the three amigos but to give instructions to arrest Lev and Igor. That in turn means that Rudy quite possibly knew of the impeding arrests and just sent them off to their fates. What a guy. What I haven’t seen though, is any indication that the FBI knew that Lev at least was getting ready tell tales out of school. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t know and it just hasn’t come out yet. If they were in jail and Dowd was in on it they could prevent damaging info from inadvertently escaping.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        As I understand it (if that’s even possible for me anymore), Ms. Wheeler’s hypothesis holds that Barr was trying to limit the charges that would be brought against Parnas and Fruman et al. to crimes they had committed from roughly March of 2018 through roughly November of 2018.

        According to Wikipedia, the 2018 WH Hanukkah party was held on December 6th of 2018.

        According to Parnas, Trump and Giuliani had a private meeting with Parnas and Fruman during the 2018 WH Hanukkah party in which Trump allegedly authorized Parnas and Fruman to try to get dirt on Biden from the Ukrainians as well as to try to discredit the black ledger.

        If SDNY charged Parnas and Fruman with any of the crimes they may have committed after that December 6th Hanukkah party meeting with Trump, then Parnas and Fruman could claim that they were pursuing the official foreign policy of The United States as directed by The POTUS.

  5. Eureka says:

    Well that’s nice and harrowing.

    With this new installment in the Banana Tangerine Republic series, all I can think of is your chart (that ~ calls bullshit on their failing to follow post-9-11 dot-connecting procedures with the WB complaint).

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    Yes, indeed, it is curious that Downing was in the loop. There seems to be an overall opaque pattern involving the Manafort, Stone and Trump nexus. Today I came across this lengthy transcript that is now a little over 2 years old. Simpson (who admits to being naive just like most of the rest of us) discusses a number of things beyond the infamous dossier. Here are just a few interesting excerpts where he suggests that further exploration may be warranted. Maybe somebody has looked or is looking into these things.

    “House Intelligence Committee Interview of Glenn Simpson” – ( November 14th, 2017; released by a vote of the committee on January 18th, 2018. Transcript of roughly 7 hours of interviews) – Wikisource, the free online library
    “Roger Stone has done work in Ukraine. He did work in Ukraine around the same time as Manafort.”

    “And I think he has a little more knowledge of Manafort’s Ukrainian activities. And they both — Stone was a protege of a Republican political fellow named Arthur Finkelstein, who hired him to work on the Nixon campaign. And Finkelstein was one of the first consultants to really appreciate how to target voters in a way that somewhat resembles the way the Trump campaign and the Russians did. And he spent many years — he worked — Finkelstein worked with Stone and Manafort in Ukraine in or around 2005, 2006, for the same cast of bad guys. And later went off to Hungary to work for the pro-Russian prime minister there, Victor Orban, and went into business over there. And there is a lot of allegations coming out of the Hungarian expat community about all of that. And, so, I think that is an important area. That is one of the — you know, we’ve picked up that Hungary is inside the EU, and it’s essentially — you know, Orban is essentially a Putin puppet and the GRU has a big station there, and there is a lot of unexplained travel by various people. And we have heard a lot of rumors about that, and a lot of allegations since beginning of last year.”
    “I see, you know, a Russian Central Asian organized crime nexus. So, I think the Arifs are in that category, and the Agalarovs are in that category, and I think they know each other. I think they go to each other’s children’s weddings. And I think those weddings take place in Italy.”

    “So that is important. I think there is a lot of activity we saw around the island of St.Martin in the Caribbean, and a lot of Russian activity. President Trump has a property there he has been quietly trying to sell. And there might have been some meeting activity there. The Turkey-Russia connection I think is deeper than is generally understood. I think that the Turkey-Russia — I think that the influence campaign that General Flynn got caught up in is reflective of that. And I think it’s not been excavated. And I think that Roger Stone may have connections to that matter that are unexplored.”

  7. orionATL says:

    uncle blazer on twitter @ blakesmustache

    thread: silencing parnas (a timeline).

    aka, “smothering lev with lawyerly kindness”.

  8. drouse says:

    Victoria and Joe, do they have other clients in this mess or is Firtash the only one we know of? I swear to Dog their real purpose is provide secure communication.

  9. PeterS says:

    So the DOJ is either a) corrupt because it arrested Parnas for political reasons, or b) not corrupt because it arrested Parnas, a friend of Trump.
    If I was masterminding this, I’d first try to stop people like Parnas and Fruman talking by giving them a lot of money. Somewhat simpler than going down the uncertain law enforcement road.

    • timbo says:

      That’s an astute observation. Another observation is that if many of these buffoons do have any money, it’s hidden away and not likely to be given away to anyone else. We already see Cohen’s problems in that he had committed himself to fraudulent statements to banks but then suddenly found money for other things. Same with Manafort. The chances that Guiliani has not also lied to banks is what exactly? How about Stone? Flynn? Trump and his closest associates seem to have made a lot of money lying to banks too. Certainly no smart lawyer would do this… although if you look into where the money for Parnas and Fruman to be spreading liberally into the coffers of the GOP, we suddenly run into a lawyer who claims to have been scammed by them…

  10. Rapier says:

    Oh to have been a fly on the wall to hear the orders Murdoch gave Barr. Or maybe Barr was just getting some input from the holy man on the speech he was to deliver at Notre Dame on the 11th.

  11. OmAli says:

    Manu Raju on twitter: “Schiff says on ABC the National Security Agency is starting to “withhold documents” on Ukraine from the House, saying the documents could be relevant in the Senate trial. There are “signs the CIA may be on the same tragic course,” Schiff said.”

    Who could have anticipated?

    • timbo says:

      And when is the House going to do something about this? There’s an impeachment power for a reason. And maybe it’s time to start making examples of others, not just the Trump… Imagine the screaming if Barr was impeached for instance? Mulvaney? Pompeo? How about some of those folks over in the intelligence community? It’s not hard to imagine… if you try. If only Pelosi and her supporters weren’t so gun shy, so used to just hoping their own political fortunes will be improved in the next election without tackling corruption head on…

        • timbo says:

          Try pretending that the House actually puts some teeth into their powers of impeachment. The reason it is there is to rein in people who are failing at their oath of office. If they refuse to actually come testify in front of the House as to their behavior, is it best to just let them continue behaving badly without any legal consequence? Or has the system now gone so far that it’s “too hard” to impeach cabinet members and heads of departments and bureaus in the federal bureaucracy simply because they won’t listen or that the Senate is too corrupt?

        • P J Evans says:

          Try remembering that the people they subpoena’d were told not to respond, or sued to avoid responding.

        • timbo says:

          So trying to impeach other members of the administration would be pointless. Yeah, that does seem to be the effect…

  12. orionATL says:

    the firewoman is stoking the coal. the engines’s gathering steam. the wheels are churning faster. we got us a hell of a story starting down the tracks. here’s hoping it ends better than the wreck of old 97. and ties in some parts of 2016-18 that have been missing or obscure.

  13. KPSLC says:

    Strange email behavior. Why send a forwarded email to Lev and Igor? Why not include Lev and Igor on the original email, unless you wanted to modify the contents of the original so they didn’t see everything that was in it.

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