Published: Fri, October 11, 2019

House subpoenas Giuliani associates in impeachment probe

House subpoenas Giuliani associates in impeachment probe

The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan says two associates of Rudy Giuliani who are accused of trying to buy influence over USA policy on Ukraine were arrested while trying to leave the country.

The two were arrested at Dulles airport in Virginia on Wednesday night (local time), prosecutors said.

Parnas and Fruman have emerged as major figures in the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives due to their relationship with Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney. Both have been under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan. One of the allegations appears to refer to their efforts to lobby for the removal of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Rudy Giuliani might be engaging in "unofficial" diplomacy as President Donald Trump's personal attorney, but he is not bound by federal ethics and financial disclosure laws because is not an official federal government employee, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

They were being represented in the court appearance by lawyers for Mr Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is serving prison time after being convicted previous year in Mr Mueller's investigation.

Prosecutors charge that the two men falsely claimed the contributions came from GEP, which was described as a liquefied natural gas business.

The study suggested that Obama's campaign could have used loopholes in the law to pursue millions in foreign contributions, which is against USA law, but did not provide evidence it actually occurred. Giuliani acknowledged that both men "logistically helped" in his collection of evidence against Hunter Biden, and that they helped connect him with former Ukrainian top prosecutors Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko.

Giuliani told Fox News that he represents Parnas and Fruman on a separate matter and called their arrest and indictment "timing suspect".

When the reporter informed Trump that the Parnas and Fruman were Giuliani's clients, he replied: "OK, well, then they're his clients". "In order to hide from third parties, including creditors, their sources of funding and capital, Parnas and Fruman created a limited liability corporation, Global Energy Producers, and then intentionally caused certain large contributions to be reported in the name of GEP instead of in their own names". That effort was also discussed by Trump in a July call with Ukraine's president and is at the heart of the impeachment probe.

Paul S. Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at watchdog group Common Cause, said in a statement that the charges against Parnas and Fruman "paint a troubling picture of the free flow of foreign money into our elections due to insufficient safeguards and lax enforcement". At that point, the company had no income or significant assets, the indictment said. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the president, said neither the president nor his campaign was aware of the alleged scheme.

The House committees issued subpoenas to Parnas and Fruman on Thursday for their documents and depositions.

Trump has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as baseless and politically motivated.

"I don't know those gentlemen".

- In addition to the $325,00 donation, Parnas and Fruman are accused of funneling straw donations to other political candidates.

He said he gave the money to America First Action committee because "we are huge supporters of the president".

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