Soviet-born donors to Trump are part of the Giuliani “fishing for prosecutors” in #UkraineGate

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— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) September 26, 2019

So many questions as we begin the impeachment inquiry centering on Trump’s abuse of power.

Who was subsidizing Giuliani’s search for a Ukrainian prosecutor who could provide Biden dirt.

Giuliani and a Ukrainian American businessman who was working with him, Lev Parnas, said those meetings included a Skype phone call last year with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, whom Joe Biden had urged be fired. Giuliani then met with then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko in New York in January and again in Warsaw in February.

By May, Giuliani planned to visit Kiev to meet with the newly elected Zelensky. After the New York Times revealed his plan, the former mayor canceled his trip but said he met in Paris with more prosecutors, including Nazar Kholodnytsky, head of Ukraine’s Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office. So many Ukrainian prosecutors had to be consulted because they often disagreed with one another, Giuliani said, adding that some of them are “inept.”

www.washingtonpost.com/…

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Lev Parnas’ and Igor Fruman’s newfound political prominence, including major donations to GOP candidates, belies a history of financial troubles.

Parnas is a former stockbroker who was threatened last year with eviction from a $5,500-per-month home in Boca Raton, court records show. His company was evicted in 2015 for failing to pay rent. The Ukrainian-American businessman is also at the center of a $325,000 donation to a pro-Trump super PAC that is under scrutiny from federal regulators. Details about that contribution were revealed only when an investor sued Parnas over a loan made for an unmade film Parnas was promoting called “Anatomy of an Assassin.”

Fruman, a real estate investor who also runs a New York import-export business dealing in coffee, baby food, ketchup and dairy products, and Parnas also allegedly bragged about their alliances with Republican power brokers like Giuliani and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in order to procure a six-figure loan from an investor for a natural gas business they run. But the men struggled to pay the investor back on time, leading to a lawsuit.

Their political efforts have met with some success. A month after meeting with Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman earlier this year, Ukrainian prosecutors announced an investigation into whether officials had attempted to swing the election in favor of Hillary Clinton, according to a detailed profile of Parnas and Fruman’s activities by Buzzfeed News and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Trump called the allegations “big” and “incredible” on Fox News.

www.miamiherald.com/…

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— ImAnExDem (@AnExDem) September 27, 2019

Given the need, in a criminal prosecution, to establish that Trump campaign officials knew their activities were illegal, combined with the presumed difficulty of establishing the monetary value of information that was offered, but never produced, Mueller decided not to pursue criminal campaign-finance charges for Trump campaign officials relating to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Although team Trump’s presumed ignorance of campaign finance laws worked in its favor in the context of the Mueller investigation, President Trump and Rudy Giuliani can’t claim ignorance now. Both have been on notice, at the very least since the conclusion of the Mueller investigation, that it’s illegal for any person to solicit anything of value from a foreign national to influence a U.S. election.

Notwithstanding Trump’s undeniable understanding that it’s illegal to solicit anything of value from a foreign national to influence a U.S. election, Mueller’s decision not to prosecute campaign finance violations stemming from the Trump Tower meeting only seems to have emboldened the President.

www.justsecurity.org/…

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Mick Mulvaney might expect to be called by the Congressional intel committees as the cover-up details become known.

The system where the transcript was reportedly stored is for transcripts in which leaders discuss highly classified information, such as covert operations. They can only be accessed with a code word, and a senior White House official must request the transfer of the document to this system, according to current and former administration officials.

To transfer a call from the normal storage system to the National Security Council’s code-word-protected network, a senior White House official — someone as high as the chief of staff or the national security adviser — must make a formal written request to do so, according to two people who worked with memos of calls with foreign leaders.

www.washingtonpost.com/…

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— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 27, 2019

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— Brad Morrison (@bradmoreso) September 26, 2019

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