April 29, 2021


Long Before Raiding Rudy Giuliani's Home, Investigators Sought 'Everything' From His Associates (SIMON SHUSTER,  APRIL 29, 2021, TIME)

The investigation of Giuliani grew out of a federal probe into two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested in Oct. 2019 and charged with violating campaign finance law. Both men have denied the charges and are awaiting trial.

Before they were arrested, Parnas and Fruman assisted Giuliani in his quest to connect Biden, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, to alleged acts of corruption in Ukraine. Drawing on a cast of oligarchs, former prosecutors and alleged Russian agents in Ukraine, Giuliani and his allies spent more than a year trying to tarnish Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was Vice President.

The pressure campaign to coerce Ukrainian officials into providing damaging material about the Bidens ultimately resulted in Trump's first impeachment by the House of Representatives in Dec. 2019. The impeachment inquiry found that Trump abused his office while assisting Giuliani's mission against Biden. The Republican-controlled Senate later acquitted Trump of these charges.

While the impeachment inquiry was underway that fall, federal investigators began questioning Giuliani's associates about the smear campaign against the Bidens in Ukraine, wanting to know "everything - every meeting, every text," says one of people they spoke to at the time.

What interested investigators most of all was the relationship between Giuliani and the Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash, who is wanted in the U.S. on corruption charges, this witness says. "The main things that interested them was: How would you assess, how would you describe, what do you know about his communication with Ukrainian oligarchs," says this witness, who spoke repeatedly to investigators over the course of more than a year. "Firtash was of course their main focus, without a doubt."

Posted by at April 29, 2021 7:24 PM