The Arrest Of Giuliani Associates Raises New Questions For Trump

Fruman and Parnas' funneling Russian money into a pro-Trump Super PAC, effort to oust Ambassador Yovanovitch, and meetings with Trump raise questions.
From left: Vice President Mike Pence, Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump, and Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani (Miami Herald)

From left: Vice President Mike Pence, Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump, and Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani (Miami Herald)

Late Wednesday, two foreign-born associates of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were arrested at Dulles National Airport. They had purchased one-way tickets to Vienna in an apparent effort to flee the incoming criminal campaign finance charges.

The indictment alleges that Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas funneled Russian money into pro-Trump Super PAC, America First Action PAC, ahead of the 2018 Midterm Elections. The two donated $325,000 to the PAC and contributed over $20,000 to “Congressman-1,” who is former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX). America First Action PAC spent over $3 million to benefit Rep. Sessions. Fruman and Parnas also met with Rep. Sessions multiple times and lobbied for the removal of then-Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

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Rep. Sessions then went on to send a letter in May 2018 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about Ambassador Yovanovitch, stating “consider terminating her ambassadorship and find a replacement as soon as possible.” President Trump would later remove Ambassador Yovanovitch after Giuliani lobbied for her removal this year due to her standing in the way of their efforts to pressure Ukraine. In his July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, Trump called Yovanovitch “bad news” and told Zelensky that the former Ambassador would be “going to go through some things.”

Southern District of New York (SDNY) Attorney Geoffrey Berman outlined the scheme in a press conference on Thursday:

Fruman and Parnas also donated to numerous other Republicans lawmakers and groups, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R), and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). These two names have come up before due to the help they’ve given Giuliani in his, and President Trump’s, effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the origins of the Mueller probe. Giuliani’s financial ties to Fruman and Parnas are also being investigated and it was reported Giuliani was planning to head to Vienna on Thursday also. This is where more questions are raised.

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Parnas told BuzzFeed News in July that he has met with President Trump multiple times, at both the White House and Mar-a-Lago. There are photos of Parnas on Capitol Hill, and one with President Trump at the White House in May of 2018. Both Fruman and Parnas met with Donald Trump Jr. later that same month (which is interesting given the fact Jr. also publicly criticized Yovanovitch). That’s the same month they gave the $325,000 to the pro-Trump Super PAC.

In summary: Two men were indicted for allegedly funneling Russian money into a pro-Trump Super PAC and to a Republican Congressman who lobbied on their behalf. They then met with President Trump (who would later go on to seek election help from Ukraine) on multiple occasions. President Trump eventually acted on one of their requests, which was to get rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.

Was President Trump told that these two men also wanted Ambassador Yovanovitch gone? What was the context of the conversations and multiple meetings between Trump and these men? Was Rudy Giuliani aware of the source of the foreign money Fruman and Parnas funneled towards these Republican pockets?

Needless to say, stay tuned to this story. It isn’t over.

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News // Donald Trump / Election Interference / Rudy Giuliani / Ukraine