Rudy's henchmen on the hot seat

Rudy's henchmen on the hot seat

by digby

I don't pretend to understand all the machinations involved in this, but it's a fascinating turn in the ongoing Trump sell-out scandal:

Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws, according to court documents.
The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, were arrested on campaign finance charges. The arrests and charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, were also indicted. 
Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.
They have some interesting friends:

"In their role as unofficial US envoys, Parnas and Fruman met at least 4 times with top Ukrainian prosecutors—2 of whom are steeped in corruption allegations of their own—as they pushed for investigations into Trump’s rivals"
— Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) September 24, 2019

Steeped in corruption:
There are two Ukrainians at the heart of US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani's allegations against former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Both headed Ukraine's prosecutor's office -- Viktor Shokin between 2015 and 2016, and Yuriy Lutsenko between 2016 and 2019.

A CNN analysis of multiple documents, supported by interviews in Ukraine, shows that it was Shokin and Lutsenko who supplied Giuliani's team with a complex narrative. That narrative -- a laundry list of unsupported allegations -- asserted corruption by the Bidens, as well as collusion between officials in Ukraine and the Democrats in the US to publicize damaging information about Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2016.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

According to documents turned over to Congress by the State Department's inspector general this week and obtained by CNN, there were long conversations in January of this year at Giuliani's New York offices -- first with Shokin by phone and then with Lutsenko in person. Lutsenko had come to New York with a small team, but not in his official capacity as Ukraine's Prosecutor-General.

Asked by CNN this week whether he knew of Lutsenko's visit, Petro Poroshenko, who was Ukraine's President at the time, said: "I would never have any information about that."

CNN has obtained a document -- translated into English -- that Lutsenko prepared for the January meeting. It's unclear whether the document was actually given to Giuliani's team. Giuliani's office has not responded to CNN's multiple requests for confirmation.

Read the whole thing to understand just how idiotic our president and his henchman are. I'd say they were childlike except for their overwhelming malevolence.

In case you missed it, here's what Trump said to the Ukraine president in his famous phone call:

Here's the pertinent piece of the indictment from this morning:

These Ukrainians are accused of working for a foreign government. They have been manipulating Giuliani and Trump from the beginning, And keep in mind that the prosecutors who have been feeding this information are allies of Paul Manafort and are pro-Russia.

Trump and Rudy are dupes and fools, to be sure. A couple of addled old men who are way, way over their heads.
But they also betrayed their country without a second thought. There is no excuse.