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WSJ: Key players in Ukraine scandal & Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas & Igor Fruman, arrested on criminal charges of violating campaign finance rules

Dec 22, 2017
3,023
Considering all these republicans grew up sucking on the teet of Reagan, it’s crazy how cozy they are with former Soviet henchman. Fucking traitors, all of them.
 

Euphoria

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,577
Never got a reason why those GOP senators and congressmen went to Moscow on July 4th.
Was Pete Sessions one of them?

I also believe I remember hearing during this scandal that there is a Senator involved but we never heard a name.

Edit - He was not there. Senator Johnson was though and his name has been mentioned in this scandal as he appears to try and distance himself.
 

MechDX

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,002
In addition to Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and has limited foreign policy responsibilities, the official congressional delegation featured Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas).

What's funny is Johnson and Kennedy are on this list and those are two of trumps biggest banner wavers the past couple weeks
 

Temascos

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,600
Good that these guys are caught, but I do fear that :

1) They are given a light sentence even if they refuse to cooperate - The "Otherwise a Blameless Life" treatment that Manafort got despite being proven guilty on multiple counts, what do they have to fear?
2) Information they have is not later passed over to the House for the Impeachment investigation. It is locked away as deep as possible to prevent anyone else getting caught up for as long as possible.

Those are the only question marks I have at this point, and hopefully this moves things forward and that they cooperate.
 

Weeats

Member
Jun 17, 2019
26
Another laughable example of our pathetic justice system.

Nab a couple of low-level lowlifes, ignore the actual powerful lawbreakers and call it a day, while patting themselves on the back for a job shittly done.

This means nothing. Papadopolus 2.0.
 

Dr.Acula

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,454
Good that these guys are caught, but I do fear that :

1) They are given a light sentence even if they refuse to cooperate - The "Otherwise a Blameless Life" treatment that Manafort got despite being proven guilty on multiple counts, what do they have to fear?
2) Information they have is not later passed over to the House for the Impeachment investigation. It is locked away as deep as possible to prevent anyone else getting caught up for as long as possible.

Those are the only question marks I have at this point, and hopefully this moves things forward and that they cooperate.
Manafort still got 7 1/2 years, that's a little long for "I've got nothing to fear" territory.
 

BoboBrazil

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,454
I take it since it was SDNY that Barr couldn't do anything about it? The fact that he knew if something though.
He probably did tell them through an intermediary. There was a reason they were trying to flee at this point. Also Barr right now is forcing SDNY to defend Trump in his tax fight to keep Manhattan from getting them.
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,746
Some more bad news for Trump, a scoop by the WSJ:


WASHINGTON—The White House gave a politically appointed official the authority to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds, according to people familiar with the matter, a shift that House Democrats are probing in their impeachment inquiry.

President Trump’s order to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in mid-July is at the center of House Democratic efforts to investigate allegations that Mr. Trump used U.S. foreign-policy powers to benefit himself politically. The hold came days before Mr. Trump’s request, on a July 25 call, that the Ukrainian president work with Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to conduct investigations into presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
... without being provided explanation or justification about why the administration was delaying the aid, some career officials at the Office of Management and Budget became worried they didn’t have the legal authority to hold up the funds, according to the people familiar.
While career civil servants put an initial hold on the aid, Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs in OMB, was given the authority for continuing to keep the aid on hold after the career staff began raising their concerns to political officials at OMB, according to the people familiar with the matter. Mr. Duffey also began overseeing the process for approving and releasing funds, called apportionment, for other foreign aid and defense accounts, according to a public document indicating the change.

Some people familiar with the change said Mr. Duffey, previously a high-ranking Pentagon official and the executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, took on the role because he was new to the job and wanted more insight into the apportionment process. Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought has the authority to delegate responsibility for approving funds to different staff members as he sees fit.

The involvement of a political official like Mr. Duffey in the apportionment process is unusual, according to several former OMB officials. Career staff below the political level at OMB with years, and sometimes decades, of technical knowledge of the funding process have historically overseen the routine process, according to the former officials. Career staff remain involved in preparing the apportionments, while Mr. Duffey now reviews and signs off on them, according to some of the people.
Some career staff at OMB were worried that the delay to Ukraine didn’t meet the legal standards necessary for holding up congressionally approved money. “Those decisions were made pretty high up, with some concern by people who are career employees who were not super comfortable,” said one individual familiar with the matter.
 

Euphoria

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,577
Aren’t DiGenova and Toensing the same ones now helping Firtash now too?

They’ve been in this all along. Everything is true, all of it. Russia, election meddling, Trump, everything.
 

julian

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,754
Reminder: this was supposed to be the easy scandal. It just keeps going! Where is Pete Sessions now and why isn’t he arrested?
 
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chadskin

chadskin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,413
So, Chad, can you summarize?
Well, I guess the gist is that Parnas and Fruman wanted to replace the CEO of Naftogaz, an Ukrainian energy company, in order to steer lucrative business deals to their companies.

As part of the scheme "Parnas told [the Naftogaz exec Parnas and Fruman hoped would replace the current CEO] Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests", per the AP story. They enlisted the help of and donated to Pete Sessions, who wrote a letter to Pompeo last year saying Yovanovitch is bad-mouthing Trump behind closed doors, i.e. the most cardinal sin in the Trump administration. Wrongdoing in connection to those donations to Sessions and a Trump super PAC is at the heart of this indictment.

When those efforts ultimately went nowhere Giuliani met multiple times with the then-Ukrainian prosecutor, Yurij Lutsenko, who accused Yovanovitch of pressuring him to not prosecute a group funded by the Obama administration and liberal billionaire George Soros in 2016. State Dept and Yovanovitch denied it, and Lutsenko later walked back those comments, but it fed into a smear campaign on Fox News against Yovanovitch and she was ultimately recalled by Trump in May. Lutsenko also fed Giuliani the whole Hunter Biden/Burisma narrative, and took his accusations public in interviews with John Solomon, a noted right-wing hack whose stories were mentioned in the whistleblower complaint and who emailed his Lutsenko story to Parnas and Trump lawyers/Giuliani associates Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing ahead of publication.

After Zelenskyy won the presidential election in May he vowed to replace Lutsenko. Notably, Trump praised Lutsenko during the July 25 phone call and told Zelenskyy he should keep him around. But he was eventually fired a couple of weeks later.

It's quite possible that the quid pro quo was not (only) the military aid or a meeting with Trump that Zelenskyy sought but that Trump wanted to help Giuliani/Parnas/Fruman with their business ventures. And per the AP story, Rick Perry was also involved in efforts to unduly exercise influence over Naftogaz, which raises yet more questions.

In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county’s new president.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles,” according to someone who was in the room.

Perry’s push for Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to change its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.

A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government “as having a higher ethical standard.”

The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president’s Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry’s push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.
 
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dabig2

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,421
Do they have anything on Rudy?
They most likely have shit on a lot of people Ukraine related:
FOLLOWUP/ Fruman—just arrested trying to flee the country—met *personally* with Trump *twice* in the days before Ukraine froze all Manafort investigations in April 2018. Think there was a connection?
No doubt in my mind this is one of those cases Mueller farmed out. Don't be surprised to see Michael Cohen dragged back into the fray here either. LOTS of Ukraine fun involved him directly.
 

Dunlop

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,539
I can't even keep track of all of this anymore, until there is a flow chart or easy to digest flash cards I'm going to focus on the Canadian elections : )
 
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chadskin

chadskin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
9,413
And to add, the donations to Pete Sessions, the Trump super PAC and others were ... funded by a Russian citizen