ABC News’s Aaron Katersky and Josh Margolin report that Rudy Giuliani’s relationship with arrested Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman is now the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by federal authorities in New York.
The Soviet-born Fruman and Parnas were arrested on Tuesday night while on their way to the airport to flee the country. The two men have been charged with felony campaign finance violations over a $325,000 payment to a pro-Trump Super PAC and 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 (R-TX), 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 two men have known Giuliani for years and worked with him to find damaging information on Biden.
Both Fruman and Parnas have been named as witnesses in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump which began after it was revealed that he tried to use the powers of the Oval Office to strongarm the Ukrainian president into opening an investigation into Biden ahead of the 2020 election. By any metric, Trump’s stratagem was a flagrant and impeachable abuse of power and a profound betrayal of the public trust.
Ironically, the investigation onto Fruman/Parnas/Giuliani is being carried out by the FBI’s New York branch in tandem with the Southern District of New York, which Giuliani once led as a U.S. Attorney.
It’s as yet unclear exactly what Fruman and Parnas know and will reveal to authorities, but this Ukraine saga is escalating and expanding so rapidly that it can only spell serious trouble for the Trump administration. Regardless of what information these crooks cough up, there is already enough evidence on the table to impeach Trump and possibly even to indict Giuliani. Anyone involved with trying to undermine American elections by exploiting the power of the federal government must be held accountable.