Rudy Giuliani's Ukrainian Fixers MAYBE Did Crimes With US Congressman, Are In Jail
Life comes at you fast! One minute you're blowing off congressional testimony, having assured yourself that Donald Trump's NO IMPEACHMENT! Get Out of Jail Free Card still has a couple punches left on it for you. The next, you're in detention as a guest of the United States Attorney's Office, getting arraigned on multiple campaign finance and conspiracy charges in a federal court in Virginia. It's a wild ride!
The Wall Street Journal was first to report that Rudy Giuliani's co-conspirators Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, AKA "The Chucklefucks," were arrested at Dulles airport last night as they were attempting to leave the country. The pair will thus be missing their scheduled testimony in the House today and tomorrow -- which they were going to blow off anyway, because LOL, YOU CAN'T MAKE ... WAIT WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THOSE CUFFS, OFFICER?
Why yes, these are the same chucklefucks who allegedly roped the Department of Energy into their efforts to muscle in on Ukraine's natural gas import business by putting their allies in charge of the state-owned energy company Naftogaz. The very same ones who have been "assisting" Trump's off-books lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing with their Ukrainian investigations. Because, if there's a harebrained grift laid out in a bunch of incriminating text messages, these idiots are in on it.
In a short but dense 21-page grand jury indictment, Parnas, Fruman, and their co-conspirators David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin (we haven't worked out who those other two dumbasses are yet) are accused of "engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office so that the defendants could buy potential influence with candidates, campaigns, and the candidates' governments." Their plans for the million dollars of cash wired in by their Ukrainian patron were wide-ranging, involving not only federal officials who could influence US foreign policy, but also local officials in Nevada who could award them licenses to set up a marijuana dispensary. (Why are you like this, 2019?!?)
They even had a table of politicians they'd need to bribe ... AHEM, donate to, to get their weed business off the ground:
In or about September and October 2018, CORREIA drafted a table of political donations and contributions, which was subsequently circulated to the defendants and Foreign National-1. The table described a "multi state license strategy" to further the Business Venture. The table contemplated approximately between $1 and $2 million in political contributions to federal and state political committees.
As Stringer Bell might say, ARE YOU TAKING NOTES ON A CRIMINAL FUCKING CONSPIRACY?
But wait, there's more! Parnas and Fruman, the international businessmen planning to TOTALLY PWN the Ukrainian natural gas market, screwed up and missed the deadline to apply for a dispensary license. So they sent Kukushin back to his good buddy Foreign National-1 to ask for another $10,000 to "make an additional donation to Candidate-1" lamenting that they were "2 months too late to the game unless we change the rules." Kukushkin, who appears to have been acting as the middleman, returned with bad news: The $1 million already fronted by Foreign National-1 was "in order to cover all the donations whatsoever." So they had to make the $10,000 donation out of the money already advanced by their foreign patron. Which they did, and then claimed it was a personal donation from Fruman.
Criminal masterminds, they are not.
All of which is hilarious, but for our purposes, we're more interested in federal officials who took cash from these doofuses. The indictment charges the four men with using a straw-donor to give $325,000 to the pro-Trump America First Action PAC, taking in a million dollars from a "Ukrainian government official" to use for contributions to American politicians, and lobbying then-Congressman Pete Sessions (referred to in the indictment as Congressman-1) to get the US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired. Which he did. And then, in a fascinating coincidence of timing, Parnas and Fruman committed to raise another $20,000 for his re-election committee and maxed out their personal donations to him. Except Parnas ran out of cash, so Fruman had to front him for it. Which meant that Parnas committed an additional offense of lying about the origin of the funds, and Fruman exceeded his own contribution limit. So many crimes! ALLEGEDLY.
According to the indictment, Parnas and Fruman hid some of their contributions, including the $325,000 to the pro-Trump PAC, by routing them through Global Energy Partners, the company they set up to muscle in on Ukraine's imports of American natural gas. Except they were really bad at everything, so the company never did any business, and when these chucklefucks signed the Federal Elections Commission paperwork saying that the donations were proceeds of GEP's VRY SRS BIDNIZ, they were lying. Allegedly. It's not clear where this cash came from -- the indictment refers to it as "a private lending transaction between FRUMAN and third parties [which] never passed through a GEP account"-- but it certainly wasn't earned by GEP.
And lest we forget, Rudy Giuliani represented these two idiots, and they "represented" him as they worked to advance Donald Trump's electoral prospects by drumming up support for the Ukrainium One Biden smear in Ukraine. So many FARA violations, so little time!
In any rational world, this would be the first step toward a criminal indictment of multiple high-ranking Republican figures, including Rudy Giuliani, former Congressman Pete Sessions, and possibly even Donald Trump. Parnas and Fruman have been the tip of Giuliani's spear in Ukraine, where they've been digging for dirt while prodding the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and say that releasing the ledger of secret payments to Paul Manafort in 2016 when he was managing Trump's campaign amounts to an ILLEGAL HILLARY COLLUSION. They've got the goods on ERRRYBODY. But Bill Barr, the guy who just spent a week in Italy chasing the ghost of Joseph Mifsud to prove that Donald Trump WUZ FRAMED by the dastardly Ukrainians in cahoots with the DNC and the Deep State, is not bloody likely to let things get out of hand at the DOJ.
So, who the hell knows what happens next. On the plus side, the House Just subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman and told them to get their chucklefuck asses in to testify next week, and now that they're guests of the US government, it should be pretty easy to serve them.
But ACHTUNG, BREAKING it looks like Parnas and Fruman's regular attorney John "Purple Comic Sans" Dowd -- who used to be Donald Trump's attorney -- will not be representing them this afternoon in court.
OH COME THE FUCK ON.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.