The people said that Giuliani began negotiations with Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, about a possible agreement in February. In the agreement, Giuliani’s company would receive payment to represent Lutsenko as the Ukrainian sought to recover assets he believed had been stolen from the government in Kyiv, those familiar with the discussions said.
Ah, see? We are all in this together, so to speak.
For Lutsenko and the then Ukrainian government (prior to Zelensky’s election), the agreement provided a pipeline to Trump’s lawyer and, through Rudy, potentially to Trump and people like Bill Barr, which mattered a great deal. The U.S. holds a large amount of Ukrainian assets frozen in criminal prosecutions. Of course, prior to Zelensky’s election, Ukraine had other reasons it wanted close relationships with the Trump administration.
The story notes that Ukraine desperately wanted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch removed from her post. That corruption-fighting, lifetime diplomat, exceptionally professional and well-qualified woman was a pain in the ass to then Ukrainian government. Ukraine liked its corruption left well enough alone. We know Yovanovitch went on to be fired, but Rudy never got a penny.
The beauty of the story is that the deal was never formalized, at least from Giuliani’s perspective. Details of the deal were drawn up in draft agreements. From the Seattle Times:
The agreements were never executed and there is no indication that Giuliani was ultimately paid by Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials. But the negotiations proceeded far enough that a series of legal agreements were drafted under which Giuliani’s company would have received more than $200,000 to work for the Ukrainians, people familiar with the agreements said.
Some versions of the agreement envisioned Washington husband-and-wife lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, also playing a role and receiving payment.
Those who recall my story from Monday about the interview with Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash and his negotiations with Rudy will recognize the pattern, and the names.
So, how does this implicate Rudy in a crime?
Strict rules exist as to how and when a private U.S. citizen or company can contract with a foreign country’s government, especially when it comes to political maneuvering, as opposed to building a highway or digging an oil well. Offering to “represent” a foreign government as an “attorney” would require registering as a foreign agent, something Giuliani did not do. Moreover, it is against federal election law (Parnas and Fruman are charged with FEC violations) for a U.S. citizen to solicit anything of value from a foreign country or official to promote a candidate. Last, one of Rudy’s most lasting “defenses” has been that he was only in Ukraine to “clear his client” (Trump) of 2016 issues, and not to help the Trump campaign with 2020 issues. If evidence emerges that Rudy had negotiated unsigned contracts contemplating six figures to “assist” Ukraine in … anything, he is toast.
One thing worth our attention in all this, the money Rudy sought, $200K isn’t an eye-popping figure for stuff happening at this level. It ought to inform us. Rudy was just as radioactive back then as he is now, obviously. The Trump campaign has never paid Rudy a dollar, knowing better, apparently. Rudy frequently bragged that he never charged “his client,” Trump, a dollar. It would appear that few others in right-wing world wanted to touch Rudy, either. Thus, a sum that would be a pittance to corrupt Ukrainians, $200,000, seems like it was extremely important to Rudy and pals, as it keeps appearing and reappearing. It is not like Rudy and Trump don’t have access to large sums of cash, Trump’s campaign has over one-hundred million in the bank. It is that no one wants this specific cash or their name associated with what Rudy was doing in Ukraine.
Which brings us to the next point. When one of your biggest priorities is keeping your funding secret, you tend to commit tax fraud and/or money laundering. If you recall, we wrote earlier in the week about the possible charges listed on subpoenas of Rudy’s records, those possible charges included money laundering.
As I wrote earlier in the week, I don’t see Rudy making it to Christmas without being arrested. At this pace, however, he will not make it another two weeks. This evidence is coming out for a reason. One might guess, and it is only a guess, that those who have been in Giuliani’s orbit know that Rudy is going down, and want to distance themselves from Rudy and his efforts. They might be the people most responsible for the sudden avalanche of evidence released pertaining to Rudy. It is a run for the exits, and Rudy is left holding the bag.
Indeed, Rudy, you did have a lot of business in Ukraine, and it went well beyond “just clearing your client’s name.” And that’s a strange “client,” you have there, one that doesn’t pay you, even though you ask everyone else for money.
Kind of swampy.
Not that any of this is going to matter to the Fox News crowd. But when Rudy is arrested, there is going to be fck all that Barr can do about it without getting himself arrested in the process. Then things will get interesting …
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom