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First arrests in Trump Impeachment Saga

by ARGeezer Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 12:54:08 AM EST

2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges  NYT

WASHINGTON -- Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on Thursday against two men who have aided President Trump's efforts to gather damaging information in Ukraine about his political opponents, a criminal case that signaled growing legal exposure for the president's allies as Mr. Trump tries to blunt an impeachment inquiry in Congress.

The indictment of the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, sketched a complex scheme to violate campaign finance laws and did not accuse Mr. Trump of wrongdoing. But it revealed new details about the push to pressure Ukraine: a campaign encouraged by Mr. Trump, led by his private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and assisted by obscure figures like Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman.

Mr. Trump continues to defend the effort, which is the focus of the impeachment inquiry that House Democrats opened last month. The new indictment, however, suggests the first criminal implications of the shadow foreign policy that Mr. Giuliani pushed on behalf of the president.


The whole saga just came to a rolling boil. The two men were arrested at Dulles International Airport with one way tickets to Vienna. Coincedently Rudy Guiliani was also scheduled to fly to Vienna.

Unlike Watergate this scandal STARTED with a confession by Donald Trump in the summary of his infamous telephone call with Ukranian PM Zelenski. Now we are starting to fill in the details.

Mr. Giuliani has been public about his hunt for damaging information about Democrats, and the indictment gives a more complete picture about how he seems to have subcontracted part of the work to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, two of his longtime associates.

(The indictment directly connected the two men to a key element of the pressure campaign, an effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, after she became a focus of criticism from many of Mr. Trump's allies. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman donated money and pledged to raise additional funds in 2018 -- some violating legal limits -- for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust her, court papers showed.


Ms. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who appears tho have been removed from her post because she wouldn't 'play ball', is due to be deposed tomorrow by a House Committee.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is having a telephone conference tomorrow with House Democrats to get a sense of their positions on the impeachment investigation.

This story has long legs.


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Will Pelosi back down when she realises that Israel is involved?
Two businessmen linked to the Trump-Ukraine scandal and who were arrested by federal authorities in Virginia on Thursday visited Israel last year as part of a group that met U.S. Ambassador David Friedman.

A photo from that visit, which was originally published by an American publication, shows Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son, Yair, at the home of billionaire Simon Falic, one of the Israeli premier's most important donors.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 05:50:47 AM EST
Can't wait for Der Drumpfenfuehrer's comment: Democrats interfere with well-deserved vacations of fine Americans!  OUTRAGEOUS!!  And fake news media can only say it's about ME!  When will people rise up to defend REAL America!  Won't someone rid me of these medddlesome opponents!
by rifek on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 02:54:09 PM EST
Some call it "economic" war, because they are stupid.

Turkey's tourism industry suffering from Israelis' rebuff , 2010

Israel Shuts Down Bethlehem Economy, Tourism Suffering As Dispute Over Israeli Demand To Arrest Activists Continues, 1997

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 04:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
House Impeachment Investigators Subpoena Rick Perry on Ukraine  NYT
Hours after two associates of the president's personal lawyer were indicted on federal campaign finance charges, the House also subpoenaed them for depositions about their work in Ukraine.

WASHINGTON -- House investigators pounded the Trump administration and its allies on Thursday with new subpoenas, demanding documents from Rick Perry, the energy secretary, and testimony from two more witnesses as they aggressively challenged a White House pledge to starve their impeachment inquiry of evidence.

Three Democratic chairmen leading the inquiry instructed Mr. Perry to turn over by next Friday any records that would shed light on President Trump's attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open corruption investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son. Investigators also want answers on whether Mr. Perry tried to influence the management of Ukraine's state-owned gas company.

Hours earlier, they demanded that two businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, appear for depositions next Wednesday and hand over records related to their work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump's personal lawyer. Mr. Giuliani has been the point man in the president's pressure campaign on Ukraine, around which the inquiry is centered. The subpoenas came shortly after the two men were indicted on federal campaign finance charges that touched on their work in Ukraine.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 04:13:28 PM EST
Trump Had Ukraine Envoy Removed on `False Claims,' She Tells House Inquiry  NYT
Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch was recalled from Ukraine, she told impeachment investigators on Friday, despite a boss saying she had "done nothing wrong."

WASHINGTON -- Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was recalled as the American ambassador to Ukraine, testified to impeachment investigators on Friday that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had "done nothing wrong."

In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump's impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of his administration's conduct of foreign policy. She warned  that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats' judgment, threatening to undermine the nation's interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.

According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, the longtime diplomat said she was "incredulous" that she was removed as ambassador "based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."

She spoke to investigators on Capitol Hill in defiance of the White House's declaration that administration officials would not cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 04:20:48 PM EST
Congress Can Seek Trump's Financial Records, Appeals Court Rules NYT
WASHINGTON -- President Trump's accounting firm must turn over eight years of financial records to a House committee, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday, handing the president a significant defeat in his attempts to block the release of the returns.

The House Reform and Oversight Committee issued a subpoena earlier this year demanding that Mazars USA, the president's accounting firm, hand over the records. Mr. Trump's lawyers accused Democrats on the committee of conducting a witch hunt with no legitimate purpose.

On Friday, a three-judge federal panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided 2-1 with the Democrats, saying that the committee has the right to the documents.
....
The ruling is a significant loss for the president, who often boasts of his wealth but has adamantly refused to release his tax returns since he began his campaign for president. His lawyers could appeal the case to the full appellate court or the Supreme Court.
....
The president also suffered a defeat this week in a similar case in which the Manhattan district attorney has sought the president's tax records from Mazars. A federal judge ruled that the accounting firm must hand over the tax records to the district attorney.

Trump's lawyers did win a temporary stay.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 11th, 2019 at 04:34:14 PM EST
federal panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided 2-1 with the Democrats..., not really

Donald J. Trump, et al. (appellants) v. Mazars USA, LLP. 134 pp. (too much?)

This is hardly the first subpoena Congress has issued--legislative subpoenas are older than our country itself--and the parties draw upon the historical record to support their claims. Accordingly, before digging into the details of this case, we think it necessary to place the challenged subpoena in historical context.

The story of legislative subpoenas extends all the way back to the "emergence of [the English] Parliament"
[...]
Time will tell whether the Department's prediction is accurate. At present, however, we have no need to consider that hypothetical scenario because the only subpoena currently before us is the one directed at Mazars. And to be clear, neither the Trump Plaintiffs nor the Department has argued that compliance with that subpoena risks unconstitutionally burdening the President's core duties.

Nor could they. It is Mazars, a third-party, that will retrieve and organize the relevant information; the subpoena seeks non-confidential records in which the President has asserted no proprietary or evidentiary protections ; and Mazars, not the President, risks contempt through non-compliance. To be sure, monitoring Mazars's compliance with the subpoena might require some presidential time and attention. But as the Supreme Court made clear in Clinton v. Jones, a "burden [on] the time and attention of the Chief Executive," standing alone, "is not sufficient to establish a violation of the Constitution." 520 U.S. at 703.

Though our journey has been long, we find ourselves at the end of a familiar tale. A congressional committee, as committees have done repeatedly over the past two centuries, issued an investigative subpoena, and the target of that subpoena, questioning the committee's legislative purpose, has asked a court to invalidate it. The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one: disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story. And that is precisely what the Framers intended. As Justice Brandeis wrote, "[t]he doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted . . . not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power." Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 293 (1926) (Brandeis, J., dissenting). "The purpose," he explained, "was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy." Id. Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable. We affirm the district court's judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee and against the Trump Plaintiffs. So ordered.

RAO dissenting, pp 67-134, "A subpoena's force extends beyond its recipient" yadda yadda

archived May 2019 deadline
Judge OKs House Oversight! Subpoena of Trump Finances
Hizzoner also liberally cites elements of Watkins to justify the "informing function" of Congress ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Oct 12th, 2019 at 04:31:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
patron saint of the Democratic Party

Presidents, too, have often been the subjects of Congress's legislative investigations, though fewer of these have required judicial intervention. Historical examples stretch far back in time and broadly across subject matters. In 1832, for example, the House vested a select committee with subpoena power "to inquire whether an attempt was made by the late Secretary of War . . . [to] fraudulently [award] . . . a contract for supplying rations" to Native Americans and to "further . . inquire whether the President . . . had any knowledge of such attempted fraud, and whether he disapproved or approved of the same." H.R. Rep. No. 22-502, at 1 (1832) (internal quotation marks omitted).


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Oct 12th, 2019 at 04:51:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I attended a Jefferson-Jackson meeting of the Arkansas Democratic Party in Mountain Home, AR the second year I was in Arkansas in 2006. Very blue dogs indeed, but that was the year of the election which returned the House to the Democrats, so all attention was focused on the evils of the Republicans under W. Due to my Cherokee ancestry I had long had a distaste for Jackson. Whatever problems one may find with the first Democratic 'patron saint', Tomas Jefferson, they pale before the awfulness of Jackson.

Jackson, indeed, is the best evil precedent for Trump.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 12th, 2019 at 04:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work  NYT
WASHINGTON -- Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani's efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump's broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Ms. Yovanovitch.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Oct 12th, 2019 at 02:27:28 AM EST
Watergate with Outsourcing Doyle McManus  LAT
Nixon at least hired Americans for the job. So much for 'America First'

President Trump outsourced his dirty tricks overseas, asking Ukraine to help destroy former Vice President Joe Biden. It landed Trump in a Watergate sized world of trouble




"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 13th, 2019 at 04:18:30 PM EST


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