Parnas and Bondy: Not The Heroes We Asked For, But Maybe The Heroes We Got?
If the only way to survive the Trump administration is to keep resisting no matter how tired we get, then the combination of Lev Parnas and his attorney Joseph Bondy could be just what we need. When everything is crazy all the time and the riptide of normalization threatens to pull us under, maybe we need a wackass chucklefucker and his dead-eyed weed lawyer to shout, "Hey, snap out of it, this shit ain't right!" as they hurl a life preserver at our heads. Not because they can stop the tide, of course, but to jolt us back awake before we sink into the miasma of corruption.
It is in that spirit that we should view the latest salvo from Bondy asking Attorney General Bill Barr to recuse himself from Parnas's campaign finance case and appoint a special prosecutor. Not because it's likely to work with Barr or US District Judge J. Paul Oetken, but because it draws a giant arrow toward the gross impropriety at the Justice Department which gets buried under the daily avalanche of Trump corruption.
Bondy cites multiple conflicts, both actual and perceived, that should trigger Barr's recusal from Parnas's case. The very first paragraph of the whistleblower complaint accuses Trump of "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country to help in the 2020 election" and adds, "Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well." And in his PERFECT, PERFECT TRANSCRIPT, Trump three times exhorted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the Biden investigation with Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani.
Barr also participated in the effort to bury the whistleblower complaint both in July before it went to the Inspector General and in September when he told Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that he didn't have to follow the statute and hand it over to Congress based on some nonsense he dummied up about executive privilege and national security.
And lest there be any doubt that Lev Parnas's charges and the president's Ukraine impeachment are all part of the same scheme, remember that Parnas and his chucklefucker buddies were indicted for making misattributed campaign contributions "to advance their own financial interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials, including at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working." And that "government official" was Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine's corrupt chief prosecutor, on whose behalf they lobbied Texas Congressman Pete Sessions -- and donated $20,000 to his 2018 campaign -- for help getting rid of America's ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
Later on, after Parnas and Fruman hooked up with Rudy Giuliani and Dmitry Firtash's hairball lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova got in on the action, Lutsenko "paid" them for their assistance with Biden dirt. But it was exactly the same scheme, and Barr tried desperately to bury evidence of it at the Justice Department when the whistleblower stepped forward. Which is why the New York City Barr Association called for Barr to recuse himself and, when he refused, asked Congress to investigate the Attorney General's unethical conduct.
Bondy also alludes to Parnas's statement last week to Rachel Maddow that, "Not only Rudy Giuliani. I mean, Victoria and Joe, they were all best friends. I mean, Barr was – Attorney General Barr was basically on the team." To be fair, Bondy hasn't produced any evidence thus far of Barr doing more than trying to cover up the scheme once it came to light. But last night he wrote:
In recent days, evidence has been brought to light linking you further to your long-time colleagues Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, as well as Mr. Giuliani, which undoubtedly creates at least the public appearance of a conflict.
Lordy, we hope there are tapes!
As for the harm to his client from Barr's failure to recuse, Bondy accuses the Justice Department of slow-walking the processing of Parnas's seized phones and computers, making his eleventy million incriminating text messages unavailable to turn over to House impeachment investigators, which might eventually earn him goodwill with a trial judge. He also alleges that prosecutors have "refused to meet with Mr. Parnas and to receive his information regarding the President, Messrs. Giuliani, Toensing, diGenova and others -- all of which would potentially benefit Mr. Parnas if he were ever to be convicted and sentenced in his criminal case." Which is WHOA IF TRUE.
Now, we at this here Mommyblog didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday. We know damn well that Bill Barr has no intention of recusing himself like a common Jeff Sessions from a matter in which he has, or might give a reasonable person reason to believe he has, a personal stake. But calling him out on it still matters. The rule of law still matters. And it's not sexy, but dammit we have to fight for our norms!
So, thanks for that, you crazy weirdos. Also for this video of Mother Pence getting handsy with our Lev.
[Parnas Letter to Barr, with supporting documents attached]
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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.