Two associates of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had lunch with Giuliani at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., hours before they were arrested, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source who saw the group together.
The two Soviet-born businessmen, Led Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested Wednesday night at Washington Dulles International Airport on campaign finance violation charges. Federal authorities allege they violated the law to funnel money to numerous Republican committees, including a $325,000 contribution in May 2018 to a pro-Trump super PAC called America First Action.
Prosecutors say the two were attempting to leave the country with one-way international tickets when they were arrested.
House committees subpoenaed the pair, who the committee chairs say aided Giuliani’s efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, on Thursday for documents related to their work with Ukrainian officials and political contributions in the U.S.
Oh for crissakes.
Here’s some of the good stuff:
Meanwhile, seven years ago to the day:
. . . someone make it stop:
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has in the last year become something of a congressional point man for President Donald Trump’s negotiations with Turkey, leading discussions on everything from Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile system over the summer to their more recent incursion into northern Syria.
So when he received a call from a man he thought was Turkey’s minister of defense earlier in August, it didn’t strike him as unusual. “Thank you so much for calling me, Mr. Minister,” Graham said. “I want to make this a win-win, if we can.”
But it wasn’t the Turkish defense minister at all. Instead, it was Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, Russian pranksters with suspected ties to the country’s intelligence services who go by “Lexus and Vovan.” The duo have become notorious in recent years for their cold calls to unwitting, high-profile Western politicians . . .
The substance of Graham’s conversation with Stolyarov, who was posing as Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, is newly relevant in light of the South Carolina senator’s push for sanctions on Turkey as punishment for their offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria. Graham labeled the Kurds a “threat” to Turkey in the call, seemingly contradicting what he has said publicly in recent days.
Graham also mentions Trump’s personal interest in a “Turkish bank case” in the call that appears to refer to a U.S. case involving Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader and client of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Trump had asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017 to help persuade the Justice Department to drop the Zarrab case.