The New York Times has a new explosive story out detailing Trump’s effort to enlist the assistance of known-criminal oligarch Dmitry Firtash in seeking dirt on Joe Biden. According to the report, Trump’s personal lawyer (Rudy) proposed helping Firtash dodge criminal prosecution brought by DOJ, through Rudy and Trump’s control of Bill Barr, attorney general. This would be another level of corruption beyond just withholding aid to Ukraine. Stepping into the Department of Justice and “calling off the dogs” on a proper criminal investigation? In exchange for dirt on a political rival? In my mind, it exceeds the abuse of power in withholding aid.
In the case of Mr. Firtash, an energy tycoon with deep ties to the Kremlin who is facing extradition to the United States on bribery and racketeering charges, one of Mr. Giuliani’s associates has described offering the oligarch help with his Justice Department problems — if Mr. Firtash hired two lawyers who were close to President Trump and were already working with Mr. Giuliani on his dirt-digging mission. Mr. Firtash said the offer was made in late June when he met with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both Soviet-born businessmen involved in Mr. Giuliani’s Ukraine pursuit.
Is this part of what Parnas profferred to Schiff last week? Details of this meeting? The timing seems suspicious, although these specific details come from an interview with Firtash himself, which is an important consideration we will discuss below.
Mr. Firtash’s relationship to the Trump-allied lawyers — Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova — has led to intense speculation that he is, at least indirectly, helping to finance Mr. Giuliani’s campaign. But until now he has stayed silent, and many of the details of how and why he came to hire the lawyers have remained murky.
Why is Firtash talking? Why is he seeming to take the Parnas defense, in spilling all he knows? Does Firtash believe there is no conceivable way that Trump will survive the evidence that is about to come out and wants to disassociate himself with Trump?
That is my optimistic side, talking, but it is possible. It is also possible that the Kremlin itself has decided it has risked too much and it is time to cut Trump off, and is working through Firtash. Note, the article expressly reinforced the “deep ties” between Firtash and Putin. There is not a chance in hell Firtash does this interview if he thinks it will upset Putin.
Certainly, Firtash offered up GOLD in terms of evidence needed to impeach Trump and jail Rudy:
“They said, ‘We may help you, we are offering to you good lawyers in D.C. who might represent you and deliver this message to the U.S. D.O.J.,” Mr. Firtash recalled, referring to the Justice Department. He hired the lawyers, he said, on a four-month contract for a singular task — to arrange a meeting with the attorney general and persuade him to withdraw Exhibit A. He said their contract was for $300,000 a month, including Mr. Parnas’s referral fee. A person with direct knowledge of the arrangement said Mr. Parnas’s total share was $200,000.
The NYT story then goes on to describe that the “other element” to the deal was that they required dirt – evidence – against Biden. Firtash was adamant in his interview that he did not pass on any evidence against Biden.
So why is Firtash even discussing this? Not only is Firtash “discussing this” with the New York Times, he handed over the most explosive evidence imaginable. In effect, he said: “They told me they’d get me off from my charges by working with Bill Barr if I helped get evidence against Biden …” (paraphrased).
Whatever else this means, and it could mean a great deal, it means something compelled Firtash to come out and do an interview in which he sets out the most rock-solid evidence he personally has against Trump in the New York friggin’ Times. I will say again, Firtash is giving this interview to the Times during the exact same week that Parnas is shoveling video and photos to Schiff.
I am becoming somewhat suspicious. I believe it is possible that all these corrupt folks are tired of dealing with amateur hand grenades like Rudy and … Trump? Is it possible that Putin and other oligarchic “gods” want “off” the Trump train, lest the whole thing prove to be the grenade that poses risks that now vastly outweigh the reward in having Trump in office? It IS possible.
Something odd is happening. We have even more evidence that Trump is both obsessed with Joe Biden and hopelessly corrupt, willing to deal with the planet’s most notorious criminals and give away “everything” in exchange for an edge. But the NYT piece leaves the biggest question unaddressed; “Why are these people now suddenly spilling everything against Trump.” It is something very much worth keeping an eye upon, and many are:
Recall what Fiona Hill told @CongressmanRaja about the Firtash-Giuliani connection:
"It certainly appears … that there’s a subversion of American foreign policy to push these people’s personal interests." pic.twitter.com/DsORzBKf0y
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 25, 2019
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