The day began with the news that Guiliania associates, Soviet-born Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, had been arrested at Dulles airport and charged with conspiracy and campaign finance violations. Over the course of the day more details came out — including the fact that they had met with Rudy Giuliani hours before being arrested as they waited to board a plane with hastily bought one-way tickets to Vienna. At the end of the day Elaina Plott of the Atlantic broke the news that she was told yesterday by Giuliani, just hours before Parnas and Fruman were arrested, that he too was about to travel to Vienna. This mini-drama dominated the news cycle, but there were other developments:
Ukrainian President Denies Being Blackmailed, Says US Has Presented No Evidence of Biden Wrongdoing
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the US has not supplied any evidence of President Trump’s claims around corruption at natural gas company, Burisma involving Hunter Biden—who has sat on the company’s board since 2014—or election interference by the Ukraine in 2016. Asked by CNN whether the US has supplied any information regarding either Burisma or election interference in 2016, Zelensky said, “the USA gave me nothing, no details of Burisma… I didn’t get any details about involvement in your previous elections.”
“I always said: Super. Give me the details. We will look into this. Ukraine is not like that. We don’t interfere. If the last government interfered, give us the details we will happily investigate,” Zelensky said.
House Democrats subpoena Rick Perry for key Ukraine documents
House democrats have issued a subpoena to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for documents pertaining to the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Perry must produce the documents by Oct. 18, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement.
“Recently, public reports have raised questions about any role you may have played in conveying or reinforcing the President’s stark message to the Ukrainian President,” the Schiff wrote. “These reports have also raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 election.”
Perry has met at least 3 times with Ukrainian President Zelensky, and was working to achieve a change of the board of directors of the Ukrainian national natural gas company that would have been beneficial to pro-Trump businessmen, incldung the two arrested today — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
Four National Security Officials Were Alarmed in Real Time About Trump’s July 25 call to Zelensky
Washington Post is reporting that at least four national security officials were so alarmed by the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they raised concerns with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after President Trump’s July 25 call with that country’s president.
The Post reports:
The nature and timing of the previously undisclosed discussions with National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg indicate that officials were delivering warnings through official White House channels earlier than previously understood — including before the call that precipitated a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry of the president.
At the time, the officials were unnerved by the removal in May of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, by subsequent efforts by Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to promote Ukraine-related conspiracies, as well as by signals in meetings at the White House that Trump wanted the new government in Kiev to deliver material that might be politically damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Those concerns soared in the call’s aftermath, officials said. Within minutes, senior officials including national security adviser John Bolton were being pinged by subordinates about problems with what the president had said to his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. Bolton and others scrambled to obtain a rough transcript that was already being “locked down” on a highly classified computer network.
“When people were listening to this in real time, there were significant concerns about what was going on — alarm bells were kind of ringing,” said one person familiar with the sequence of events inside the White House, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. “People were trying to figure out what to do, how to get a grasp on the situation.”