It was a busy weekend in Ukraine-scandal news, and a bad one if you’re Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney and point man on all Ukraine-adjacent conspiracy theories.
Media reports from the past few days revealed new information about the former New York City mayor’s attempt to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine. There are also damaging new details related to Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine, which have caught the attention of federal prosecutors in New York. Much of the trouble for Giuliani comes thanks to his associate Lev Parnas, who was arrested last month with Igor Fruman on campaign-finance-violation charges related to the Ukraine plot. Parnas is now cooperating with impeachment investigators and appears to be willing to talk about anything.
Here’s what we’ve learned in the past few days:
There’s a new name to remember: Dmitry Firtash
A Ukrainian oligarch facing extradition to the U.S. on a 2014 bribery indictment, Firtash has been tangentially linked to the broader Ukraine scandal since he hired outspoken Trump-supporting attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing this summer. The lawyers, as the Daily Beast reported last month, were being paid to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in an attempt to show that Firtash’s 2014 indictment was politically motivated.
But a new report from the New York Times suggests there was another reason Firtash hired diGenova and Toensing: Giuliani suggested it. In an interview with the paper, Firtash said that Parnas encouraged him to hire the lawyers to help resolve his legal issues in the U.S. Parnas’s attorney confirmed this to the Times and said his client was acting at Giuliani’s direction. The upshot is that Giuliani was promising intervention at the Justice Department to help with Firtash’s legal issues if the oligarch funded the hunt for dirt on Biden.
Parnas has handed over tapes
Last month, the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Parnas and Fruman and both men refused to comply. But Parnas changed his mind earlier this month, in part because Trump acted like he didn’t know the two men. The Ukrainian-born American citizen fired lawyer John Dowd, who had previously worked for Trump, and his new attorney announced Parnas’s plans to fully cooperate. Now, ABC News is reporting that Parnas isn’t begrudgingly complying with the subpoena, he’s handing over everything he’s got, including “audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump.”
New documents link Pompeo and Giuliani
While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tried to keep his name out of the Ukraine scandal, other, more centrally involved figures haven’t let him. Last week, U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland testified that Pompeo knew about the campaign to trade a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president for investigations into Biden and the 2016 election. Now, new documents obtained by American Oversight show that Pompeo and Giuliani were communicating with one another as far back as March. That’s around the same time that Giuliani was beginning to publicly push for Ukraine to investigate Biden and attempting to oust Marie Yovanovitch from her post as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was fired in May.
Giuliani’s other Ukraine problem gets worse
Apart from the impeachment proceedings, Giuliani’s activity in Ukraine has come under scrutiny from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are looking into efforts by him, Parnas, and Fruman to change leadership at Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state-owned energy giant, to benefit their own business plans. Over the weekend, Andrew Favorov, an executive at Naftogaz, told reporters that Parnas and Fruman tried to get him to help oust Naftogaz’s CEO.
“This is completely crazy … I obviously declined this offer right away,” he told CNN. “It was the first time in my experience when two private actors were offering or discussing the issues that are supposed to be part of U.S. foreign policy.”
Parnas also has some info on Devin Nunes
Parnas isn’t just spilling the beans on Giuliani. He’s also reportedly ready to tell Congress that Representative Devin Nunes met with ousted Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin last year in an attempt to scare up dirt on the Bidens. Nunes is threatening to sue over the story, but he’s not denying it.