Rudy Giuliani's Ukrainium One Scam Is SO FETCH!
What could be more on brand for Donald Trump's Confederacy of Dipshits than soliciting the assistance of a foreign government to frame his opponent for ... soliciting the assistance of a foreign government? That's a rhetorical question, because the answer is they could violate campaign finance laws and the Foreign Agents Registration Act in a comically inept attempt to frame Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and, hell, why not, Robert Mueller while they're at it. Because you can check out of 2016, but you can NEVER LEAVE.
This morning BuzzFeed is out with a great piece on the two Ukrainian-American chucklefucks Rudy Giuliani partnered up with to run his Ukrainium One scam. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who are euphemistically described as having "troubled financial histories," managed to come up with $325,000 to donate to Trump's America First re-election PAC. The men described their coordination with Giuliani as an unpaid "back-channel [that] was initiated by Ukrainian officials who wanted to meet US authorities and had trouble making the right connections." Except the cash didn't come from their business like they said it did, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) doesn't require that money change hands to trigger the reporting requirement. Oooops!
We're already been over Rudy's Ukrainium One scam in detail. But generally, it has two major components. The first is to claim that Hillary Clinton solicited dirt on then-campaign manager Paul Manafort from the Ukrainian government, so HILLARY CLINTON IS THE REAL COLLUSION and also ROBERT MUELLER AND HIS INVESTIGATION ARE ILLEGAL.
Forget about that jury convicting Manafort of multiple serious counts of tax and loan fraud. Forget that the Russians waged a massive campaign to hack our election because Vladimir Putin blamed Hillary Clinton after the pro-Russian Ukrainian government was overthrown by popular revolution in 2014. Forget that George Papadopoulos triggered the inquiry into the Trump campaign by drunkenly bragging to the Australian ambassador that the Russians had hacked Democratic emails and would strategically release them to harm Clinton's campaign, which they did. In the wingnut fever swamp, the only thing that matters is that a Ukrainian-American Clinton staffer who knew about Manafort's decade of ratfucking in Ukraine made inquiries to the Ukrainian embassy about him, and so it is LOCK HER UP for both Clinton and the entire Mueller investigation!
The second part of Rudy's bullshit is an entirely unfounded allegation that then-Vice President Joe Biden forced Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor Viktor Shokin to stop an investigation into a natural gas company that was paying Biden's fuckup son Hunter. For this one to work, you have to forget that Shokin had stopped investigating the natural gas company a year earlier, and that an international consortium was pressuring Ukraine to get rid of Shokin for massive corruption. But if it's generalized amnesia you're after, The Hill's John Solomon and and Fox News are here to help!
Parnas and Fruman, who emigrated from Ukraine as children but maintain strong ties to the country, connected Giuliani with local officials who were eager to curry favor with the American president's personal lawyer. They arranged a Skype meeting with Shokin, put Giuliani in touch with another Ukrainian prosecutor who claimed that the Obama administration had leaned on Ukraine to release incriminating details about Manafort to harm Trump, and leaned on a Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch to say that the leaked ledger of payments to Paul Manafort was a forgery. The pair even managed to get America's ambassador to Ukraine fired by telling Republican politicians -- to whom they maxed out their campaign contributions, natch -- that she was anti-Trump.
And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those pesky Ukrainian voters! In April elections, Ukraine pitched out the Poroshenko government and elected comedian Volodymyr Zelensky president. At which point, everyone in Ukraine started backing away from Parnas and Fruman, because getting embroiled in America's fucked up electoral politics was extremely not on the agenda.
But by then, Giuliani's buddies had other problems. Because when you get sued all the damn time, your financial dirty laundry gets hung out in court records for all the world to see. Which is how the Campaign Legal Center was able to work out that the $325,000 donation to Trump's America First Action PAC that Parnas and Fruman claimed came from their brand new natural gas company ... didn't.
It began with a court judgment against Parnas in a case brought by an investor in a Hollywood movie that was never produced. The backer had invested $350,000 in the film, which was promoted by Parnas, and now he was alleging fraud and demanding his money back.
Parnas was forced to turn over bank records that showed a company he owned had received a payment of $1.26 million from the client trust account of a lawyer specializing in real estate and foreign investments — and records further showed that he and Fruman then tapped into that money to give $325,000 to the super PAC supporting Trump candidates, America First Action, without disclosing its source in their filings.
OF FREAKING COURSE Giuliani's plan to kneecap the Biden campaign involves apparently hinky campaign finance shit as well as a foreign assist. Honestly, you can't make this shit up.
Fruman has donated another $226,300 to GOP campaigns and PACs in an attempt to plug his natural gas company -- "We've got a business. We just want to get recognized" -- and Parnas has bumped his bits up against every Republican politician in DC. Here's a screengrab BuzzFeed got of him "feeling fantastic" with the Grifter in Chief himself.
Lev Parnas Facebook, via BuzzFeed
Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint with the FEC regarding the PAC donation, which we're sure federal investigators will get to ... NEVER. It's a goddamn tire fire of corruption, and all the firefighters have left the building. Happy Monday, Wonkers!
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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.