Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 12:54:08 AM EST
2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges NYT
WASHINGTON -- Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on Thursday against two men who have aided President Trump's efforts to gather damaging information in Ukraine about his political opponents, a criminal case that signaled growing legal exposure for the president's allies as Mr. Trump tries to blunt an impeachment inquiry in Congress.
The indictment of the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, sketched a complex scheme to violate campaign finance laws and did not accuse Mr. Trump of wrongdoing. But it revealed new details about the push to pressure Ukraine: a campaign encouraged by Mr. Trump, led by his private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and assisted by obscure figures like Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman.
Mr. Trump continues to defend the effort, which is the focus of the impeachment inquiry that House Democrats opened last month. The new indictment, however, suggests the first criminal implications of the shadow foreign policy that Mr. Giuliani pushed on behalf of the president.
The whole saga just came to a rolling boil. The two men were arrested at Dulles International Airport with one way tickets to Vienna. Coincedently Rudy Guiliani was also scheduled to fly to Vienna.
Unlike Watergate this scandal STARTED with a confession by Donald Trump in the summary of his infamous telephone call with Ukranian PM Zelenski. Now we are starting to fill in the details.
Mr. Giuliani has been public about his hunt for damaging information about Democrats, and the indictment gives a more complete picture about how he seems to have subcontracted part of the work to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, two of his longtime associates.
(The indictment directly connected the two men to a key element of the pressure campaign, an effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, after she became a focus of criticism from many of Mr. Trump's allies. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman donated money and pledged to raise additional funds in 2018 -- some violating legal limits -- for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust her, court papers showed.
Ms. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who appears tho have been removed from her post because she wouldn't 'play ball', is due to be deposed tomorrow by a House Committee.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is having a telephone conference tomorrow with House Democrats to get a sense of their positions on the impeachment investigation.
This story has long legs.