Giuliani’s associate, Lev Parnas, turned a pile of documents over to the House investigators. Tuesday night, the House released the first tranche.
Occasionally the text messages are hard to read. (I put too many on a page) You can read the originals here.
I updated my timeline with the new documents. If you need a refresher, or you want to see how the new documents fits into the larger picture, my timeline laying out the entire story is here.
This post will contain an abbreviated version, working the new evidence into the timeline.
I. Handwritten Note Laying out the Plan
Here’s Parnas’s handwritten note on Vienna letterhead laying out the plan: Get Zelensky to announce that Biden will be investigated.
“Announce” tells us that it’s a smear campaign, and an attempt to defraud people into thinking Ukraine initiated the investigation.
“Get” = shakedown.
II. Giuliani’s letter to Zelinsky
There’s nothing new here. Just another smoking gun.
Giuliani opens by making a lot of noise about how it’s perfectly legal for the president’s private lawyer, on behalf of the president, to ask a foreign leader for a favor. (Narrator: It isn’t)
What we have here is documentary evidence that Trump and Giuliani used the levers of government for their personal benefit.
All along Giuliani has been open about the fact that, as Trump’s “private lawyer” he was in Ukraine to “vindicate” his personal client. On Oct. 1, he said this:
His argument was that he had the right, as Trump’s lawyer, to look out for Trump’s personal interests. The problem, of course, is the blurring of Trump’s personal interest and U.S. foreign policy.
Jennifer Rubin nailed it when she said that Trump and Giuliani “cannot grasp that there is a difference” between conducting U.S. foreign policy for national security reasons and conducting foreign policy to benefit Trump personally.
This is what happens in what Hungarian scholar Balint Magyar calls mafia states—his name for the autocracies springing up in the former Soviet Union.
Mafia states — like Putin’s Russia —are run for the personal benefit of the ruler. According to Magyar, Mafia states develop as the government takes over businesses. As the ruler consolidates power and wealth, both wealth and power come to be concentrated in one person. Eventually, the entire state comes under the control of the head of the family and expands across the entire country. In other words, the ruler ends up owning the country. When this happens, the ruler’s personal interests and the interests of the nation become meshed into one.
In asking Zelensky to conduct an investigation that would benefit Trump personally, Giuliani and Trump behaved as if the government was at their personal disposal. They acted as if the U.S. is a mafia state.
Put simply: They conducted U.S. foreign policy for the personal benefit of Trump and pals. This is why the first Article of Impeachment is “abuse of power.” Yes, there were crimes involved. By the overall problem was behaving as if the U.S. is mafia state.
III. Candidate for Congress, Robert F. Hyde and the Stalking of Ambassador Yovanovitch
Hyde had this to say about U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch:
Here the President’s men are clearly stalking Ambassador Yovanovitch.
Here’s the part where it appears that they are talking about hiring an assassin. Murder/ violence for hire? The messages in green are from Lev Parnas.
As you can see, the “mafia” part of “mafia state” is to be taken literally.
For context, here is how these messages fit into the timeline.
In early May, Yovanovitch was told she had to return “immediately” on the next plane for her “security.” The clip is from Yovanovitch’s testimony:
March 24: Trump Jr. tweeted that Yovanovitch was a “joker” Here we have the president’s son engaged in a smear campaign against a sitting U.S. Ambassador.
Kent testified that “tweets from the president’s family made this a crisis for Yovanovich.” The State Dept refused to publicly disavow the lies, further endangering her life.
Hyde appears to be a delusional nut, but that’s the danger with right wing lies and whacky conspiracy theories: They inspire delusional nuts to consider (or do) violence.
March 26: Secretary of State Pompeo had one of several phone calls with Rudy Giuliani, raising the question of what Pompeo knew. (Sondland testified that he wasn’t on a “shadow” campaign; he was acting with the knowledge and approval of those at the highest levels of government.) The call also raises the question of what Diplomatic Security Services knew about the stalking of Yovanovich’s movements.
May 6: The State Department announced that Ambassador Yovanovitch would be ending her assignment in Kyiv “as planned.” Shortly afterward she told she had to return “immediately” on the next plane for her “security.”
May 9: The New York Times reported that Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to press the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations that would help Trump in his 2020 reelection bid.
Clip from the article:
May 10: (The day the letter was dated) Trump said this in an interview in Politico
My, my. What a coincidence. (I typed that in the sarcasm font) Because, you know, it wasn’t clear what the “specific request” was. (More sarcasm)
May 10: Initially Trump asked Pence to attend Zelenskyy’s inauguration.
May 11: Giuliani said “This guy is cancelling meeting I think?” (Who’s the guy?)
May 11: Looks like Guiliani is drafting the public statement he intends to make, badmouthing Zelensky’s “operatives” in the hopes that Zelensky understands they don’t have his “best interests at heart.”
This seems to be his final draft:
[Recall that during Trump’s July 25 phone call, he talked about how Zelensky needs to have good people around him. Clearly Trump and Guiliani want to be selecting Zelensky’s “operatives” — and they made clear it’s in Zelensky’s “best interests” to comply]:
Also on May 11, this headline appeared on Fox: GIULIANI CANCELS UKRAINE TRIP: SAYS HE’D BE “WALKING INTO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ENEMIES OF THE U.S. In the body of the article: “Giuliani publicly canceled his trip, claiming that Zelenskyy was “surrounded by enemies of the [U.S.] President… and of the United States.”
Here you see the Fox-Trump propaganda loop in action.
May 13, without warning, Trump asked Pence not to go. Williams testified that neither Trump nor Pence attending would send concern Ukrainians that they didn’t have full US support. (Williams’ Deposition)
May 18, Giuliani sent this tweet (which was seen at the embassy in Ukraine, as per testimony in the impeachment matter.)
July 3: This exchange between Giuliani and Parnas. Giuliani asks where “you guys” are. Parnas says “going to Vienna.” Wow, Giuliani says. Parnas says. “trying to get us mr. z.”
The timing? July 3. The context? On July 1-2: In Kiev, at a meeting attended by Christopher Anderson and Volker, Zelenskyy pushed for a date for the White House visit.
And the shakedown was on!!!
IV: THE FIRTASH CONNECTION
For the significance of this portion of the evidence, we need some background on Firtash. Firtash is the corrupt Ukrainian oligarch fighting extradition from Austria to the US to face bribery charges. He was also a “business” associate and pal of Manafort’s.
(I put “Business” in quotations because what they call “business” we would call “finding ways to steal from the people.”)
Firtash was also financing Operation Ukraine Shakedown.
Why was Firtash funding Operation Ukraine Shakedown? Because what Trump and Giuliani were doing in Ukraine did more than just benefit Trump personally (and more than just benefit the “business interests of Trump and pals).
What they were doing also benefited Russia, and the Russian-backed crooks in Ukraine. For more, see this post.
OK, so, initially, Firtash was represented by Lanny Davis. Then, in July, Firtash changed his legal representation and hired Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenoa. Here we have Lev Parnas’s notes discussing replacing Davis with Toensing and diGenoa:
Notice: “get all info from the case.” That means get information from Firtash’s lawyer. We already knew all about the tight relationship between Giuliani and Firtash, actually. What we have here is documentary evidence corroborating news reporting and testimony.
In Giuliani’s letter to Zelensky, he said that he would be accompanied by Victoria Toensing.
When the news broke, a spokeswoman for Toensing said she knew nothing about it. Riiiight. We believe you. (More sarcasm.)
Particularly since this message from Giuliani to Lev Parnas says “I will text Victoria.” Clearly she was in the loop.
There’s something in Lev’s notes about the “Ukrainian ledger” which involves Manafort. (The document Ukraine released showing the depth of Manafort’s corruption in Ukraine.)
The notes indicated that they wanted a deal for Firtash completed in 1-3 months? Looks like Firtash didn’t get his money’s worth!
Recall that Lev Parnas’s note was on Carlton-Ritz Vienna letterhead. Firtash is in Austria. So many coincidences!!! (sarcasm)
Think of all the documents still being hidden from the public. No wonder McConnell tried to nix a trial.
The Senate will soon answer the question: Are they okay with Trump pulling the levers of government for his own personal benefit.
With evidence this explicit, a vote to acquit means that they’re fine with this kind of corruption, and they are fine with Trump and pals turning the United States into a mafia state.
Then, in November, voters will decide how they feel about this.
A word about my timeline website page: It started as my own personal notes. Then my IT Staff (Ok, my husband) magically turned them into a website as a personal service. Typos are the fault of keyboard gremlins. The timeline is here.
Originally posted on Musing about Law, Books, and Politics.
Re-posted with permission.
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