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All the POTUS*'s “very good people” – revisiting Trumpster criminal associates

5 min read

The Giuliani subpoena is also about Giuliani’s association with mobsters, especially ones relevant to Ukraine, which as we know from Michael Cohen’s case, is an important component of NYC and Florida activity


KYIV, Ukraine—Such is the swamp of corruption in Ukraine that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, in their many dealings with its businessmen, have been only one degree of separation from what’s generally called the Russian Mob. Or maybe less. And that’s not new. It goes back decades, to Trump’s years as a real-estate developer and Giuliani’s campaigns for mayor of New York City.

Now that Trump is president, with Giuliani acting as his lawyer and shadow envoy to Ukraine to try to dig up dirt on Democratic rivals past and present—an effort leading to alleged abuse of the president’s office and impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives—those shady connections take on a whole new significance.

One of the central figures in the Trump-Giuliani-Ukraine nexus is Sam Kislin, a businessman and philanthropist often identified with the Russian émigré community of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn—and with alleged mob connections.

On Monday, the three House committees pursuing the impeachment inquiry sent a “request” to Kislin for a potentially vast trove of documents and communications with Trump, Giuliani, and scores of Ukrainians.


Remember, in 1992 the Soviet Union had just collapsed and many billionaires were created almost overnight by looting the resources of the defunct communist empire. The lines between shrewd business dealings and organized crime were difficult to draw, including in Little Odessa.


The 1990s also saw the flowering of Kislin’s relationship with Rudy Giuliani. As a matter of public record, when Giuliani ran for mayor in 1993 and then for re-election in 1997, Kislin, his family and companies contributed $46,250 to Giuliani’s campaign and organized fundraisers that garnered much more. Giuliani then appointed Kislin to the mayor’s Council of Economic Advisors, a position that Kislin still brags about.


President Trump repeated several times at the press conference with President Zelensky that he knew many “very good Ukrainian people.” Perhaps he had in mind such men as Fuks and Kislin.…


— csdickey (@csdickey) October 1, 2019

Giuliani pointed to Hunter Biden’s association with Whitey Bulger’s nephew to draw attention from this key point: “At the center of Giuliani’s back-channel diplomacy are the two businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who Giuliani has publicly identified as his clients.”

Two Soviet-born Florida businessmen — one linked to a Ukrainian tycoon with reputed mafia ties — are key hidden actors behind a plan by U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s personal attorney to investigate the president’s rivals.

Trump’s attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said in May that he planned to visit then-incoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to win support for probes into potentially damaging claims raised by senior Ukrainian officials.

Among them was the misleading contention that Trump’s main 2020 Democratic rival, Joe Biden, improperly pressured Ukraine’s government to fire a top prosecutor; that American diplomats in Ukraine had exhibited pro-Democrat bias; and that local officials conspired to undermine Trump’s presidential campaign and help Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Giuliani set off a firestorm in the conservative media by promoting the allegations.

“We’re not meddling in an election; we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” he told the New York Times.

The claims he was pressing have since largely been debunked, but remain politically potent as the next U.S. elections approach.


At the center of Giuliani’s back-channel diplomacy are the two businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who Giuliani has publicly identified as his clients.

Until now, the men have escaped detailed scrutiny. But a joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and BuzzFeed News, based on interviews and court and business records in the United States and Ukraine, has uncovered new information that raises questions about their influence on U.S. political figures.…


Shortly after Trump took office, (Felix) Sater teamed up with Cohen to submit a Ukrainian peace plan to then national security advisor Michael Flynn that would have opened the door to lifting sanctions on Russia. What happened to the plan? The lawyer at first told The New York Times that he left the plan in Flynn’s office. Then, after the story became an embarrassment, he called the Times story “fake news” and claimed he pitched the plan into the trash.…



— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) October 1, 2019


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