The arrest of Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, rather than felonious flight, was part of a plan to set up more propaganda where Arms for Dirt would continue via Sean Hannity. A Viktor Shokin interview would try to media frame his removal for inaction on corruption as some Joe Biden plot.
Ã¢ÂÂ Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 23, 2019
Washington (CNN)Long before they burst onto the national scene with their high-profile arrests
at Dulles International Airport earlier this month, Soviet-born businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were already turning heads in Republican fundraising circles.
“They seemed like hustlers — but not in a bad way. In a good way,” one high-ranking Republican operative familiar with the pair told CNN.
But a CNN review of campaign contributions and court filings, as well as interviews with nearly a dozen people with knowledge of Parnas and Fruman's interactions, tell a different story. The pair raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars and jetted around the world touting their connections to Giuliani and the Trump administration while pushing for business and favors, even claiming to arrange a Fox News interview, right up until the day they were arrested for conspiracy and campaign-finance related charges.
At one point, they pushed a Ukrainian businessman to pay them to bring Trump administration officials to Ukraine. At another time, they convinced a Florida-based businessman to loan them $100,000 so they could connect him with Giuliani and other prominent conservatives. And in a third instance, they attempted to influence the management board of a Ukrainian gas company.
“South Florida attorney Robert Stok told CNN in an interview that Parnas and Fruman came to a wealthy client of his seeking money, claiming they were so short on cash they couldn't even pay for Parnas' newborn son's bris.” And – no. No, I did not.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) October 23, 2019