Despite their vehement protests, President Donald Trump and his closest associates are continuing to face federal investigations including the impeachment inquiry. Now, it’s emerged that two major investigations into Trump World — including the impeachment probe — may soon be converging even further. This week, at a hearing in the case of personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, a lawyer for Parnas said that his client had evidence for Congressional impeachment investigators.
There’s been previous speculation about how closely Trump is to Parnas and Fruman — they’ve even been photographed together, repeatedly. Now, the case seems to be heating up even further.
BuzzFeed reporter Ema O’Connor shared:
‘Just left an SDNY hearing for Lev Parnas the main actor in Giuliani’s Ukraine Squad. Most notable part: Parnas’ lawyer said the gov is in possession of several documents and electronic devices they want to give to Congress for the impeachment investigation. The gov has seized *a lot* of Parnas’ devices. The list they gave: 6 devices at the time of arrest, including a Samsung device, iPad, 2 iPhones, cell phone. Then 8 more from his house: 3 more iPhones, Samsung galaxy phone, iMac, and iPad (no phone in court, may have missed 1).’
That trove of electronic devices — the sheer volume of data contained among them must be large — isn’t where the story even ends.
‘Parnas’ lawyer also said there were hard copy documents Parnas wanted to provide to Congress. The gov said they would be happy to scan them and make them available to Congress as well.’
The situation mirrors a major development around the time of the original Russia investigation when federal authorities raided Trump’s now former longtime fixer Michael Cohen — although that situation, which also produced large caches of evidence, was less voluntary. This time, Parnas is reportedly ready to cooperate with Congress, although there was the apparent sticking point this week that the Department of Justice (which is investigating him separately) hadn’t been able to get into the password-protected devices that they’d seized.
Congressional investigators had already been demanding that Parnas and Fruman testify before they were hit with federal criminal charges, which cover a campaign finance law violation scheme. That effort included them funneling massive amounts of money — in the $1-2 million range — to U.S. politicians that came, at least in part, from a Russian businessman. The donations were apparently meant to bolster the group’s standing while developing a business.
Parnas and Fruman also participated alongside Giuliani himself in the scheme to get Ukraine to produce potentially damaging political intel on the Bidens. For example — among other things — they set up a meeting between Giuliani and ousted Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who harbors resentment against now former Vice President Joe Biden. There’s no evidence of Joe acting with any impropriety when he pressured Ukraine to fire the widely believed to be corrupt Shokin.
On their own time, Parnas and Fruman also undertook steps like illegally large donations to then-Republican Congressman Pete Sessions in a bid to get him to pressure the Trump administration to fire then-Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, which they eventually did.