In a press appearance this afternoon, President Trump claimed to have “not known” the two Rudy Giuliani clients arrested last night at Dulles Airport as they were trying to flee the country, despite having taken pictures with them.
Trump’s rationale for being in photos with two Giuliani associates who have been charged with campaign-finance crimes is that he’s in photos with everyone, so none of them are actually incriminating pic.twitter.com/tZFRFr5PV2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 10, 2019
The president argued that he was in pictures with a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean he knows who they are:
“That was possible I have a picture with them, because I have a picture with everybody. I have a picture with everybody here. But somebody said there may be a picture or something at a fund-raiser or somewhere. So — but I have pictures with everybody. I have — I don’t know if there’s anybody I don’t have pictures with. I don’t know them. I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do. But I don’t know. Maybe they were clients of Rudy. You would have to ask Rudy. I just don’t know.”
This is a pretty standard Trump reply, one that we can safely assume is a lie. But even if it’s not, the arrest of Giuliani clients Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas is very bad news for the president and his cronies.
The House’s impeachment inquiry against Trump probably has a lot of questions for these two men, who introduced Giuliani to ex-prosecutors in Ukraine in late 2018.
As we now know, Giuliani was spearheading a hunt for dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was given a $50,000 a month board position at a natural gas company while his father was the Vice-President.
Fruman and Parnas, who were arrested for felony campaign finance violation over a $325,000 payment to a pro-Trump Super PAC, were working on behalf of “at least one” Ukranian official to get the United States’ ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, removed from her post. They did so by funneling foreign money to now ex-Rep. Pete Sessions, who successfully pushed for Yovanovitch’s recall last year. Giuliani allegedly spearheaded the recall effort because Yovanovitch was “was undermining him abroad and hindering efforts to investigate Mr. Biden.”
The evidence is piling up against the President by the day, and while Trump can claim all he wants that he has no idea who Fruman and Parnas are, Congress certainly does — and now that they’re in federal custody, they have many years’ worth of reasons to start spilling the beans.
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) October 10, 2019