The latest on the Trump impeachment inquiry

Two Giuliani associates linked to Ukraine investigations indicted on campaign finance charges

Trump donors charged in campaign finance case

Mr Dowd previously represented Mr Trump in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation that detailed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to boost Mr Trump's candidacy.

"They sought political influence not only to advance their own financial interests", said Berman, "but to advance the political interests of at least one foreign official, a Ukrainian government official who sought the dismissal of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine [Marie Louise Yovanovitch]". No destination was disclosed.

Overall, four men were indicted Thursday on two counts of conspiracy, one count of false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one count of falsification of records. Fruman is a real estate investor who was born in Belarus.

The request from Congress is the second set of subpoenas linking Giuliani and other Trump affiliates to Parnas. Trump's efforts this summer to press the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to formally announce impeachment inquiries.

According to the indictment, Parnas and Fruman used Global Energy Producers (GEP), a purported liquefied natural gas limited liability company, to contribute $235,000 to the super PAC in May 2018, and another $15,000 to a second political committee. But wire transfer records that became public through a lawsuit show that the corporate entity reported as making the transaction was not the true source of the money.

Why were Parnas and Fruman were headed to Vienna for "business" in the same window as Giuliani, but with no stated plan to meet up?

Both Parnas and Fruman are US citizens. "I referred them to a campaign finance expert who pretty much resolved it". The men were picked up yesterday at an airport outside of Washington D.C. on campaign finance violations.

Last night, when Rudy Giuliani told me he couldn't get together for an interview, his reason made sense: As with many nights of late, he was due to appear on Hannity. Both are now US citizens. Giuliani acknowledged that both men "logistically helped" in his collection of evidence against Hunter Biden, and that they helped connect him with former Ukrainian top prosecutors Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko.

The indictment also lays out how they donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, America First Action, around this same time through a limited-liability company, Global Energy Producers, allegedly created for the objective of masking the true source of their campaign contributions. At that point, the company had no income or significant assets, the indictment said.

Prosecutors identified two other men, Andrey Kukushkin and David Correia, as conspirators in an alleged scheme that aimed to funnel $1 million in donations to politicians and political candidates in Nevada, New York and other states to benefit a planned marijuana business funded by an unnamed Russian businessman.

The effort to have Yovanovitch recalled was made at the request of one or more Ukrainian officials, according to the indictment. Giuliani has said he refuses to testify or provide documents to the House Intelligence Committee.

U.S. laws allow unlimited donations by corporate entities to so-called super PACS, political action committees that are required to act independently from candidates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was involved in a July phone call with Trump that eventually sparked the House's impeachment inquiry, said during a marathon news conference Thursday that no sort of blackmail was involved in his dealings with Trump.

The charges against the men suggest Giuliani's push on Ukraine and President Donald Trump's receptiveness to it had ties to an illegal effort to influence USA politics and policy using foreign funds.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested Wednesday night and charged with attempting to funnel foreign money into USA politics using a shell corporation, Global Energy Producers.

Why were Parnas and Fruman bound for Vienna?

Bloomberg News reports U.S. District Judge George Daniels called the new Trump rule "repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility".

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