An Offer to Trade Yovanovitch for Dirt
More on Rudy's actions in Ukraine
Via WaPo: Ukraine prosecutor offered information related to Biden in exchange for ambassador’s ouster, newly released materials show.
The materials show that Parnas, a Russian-speaker who helped coordinate Giuliani’s outreach to Ukrainian sources, was directly communicating with an array of top Ukrainian officials. Among them was Yuri Lutsenko, at the time Ukraine’s top prosecutor and a close political ally of then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who was running for reelection.
Lutsenko wanted to get rid of Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador, in part because she had been critical of his office and supported a quasi-independent anti-corruption bureau he despised.
The messages, written in Russian, show Lutsenko urging Parnas to force out Yovanovitch in exchange for cooperation regarding Biden. At one point, Lutsenko suggests he won’t make any helpful public statements unless “madam” is removed.
“It’s just that if you don’t make a decision about Madam — you are calling into question all my declarations. Including about B,” Lutsenko wrote to Parnas in a March 22 message on WhatsApp.
I have noted before that if the Trump administration was really wanting to broadly fight corruption in Ukraine, the main person to help accomplish that feat was Ambassador Yovanovitch. And that, therefore, his unceremonious removal of her from her post was a clear sign that he was not truly worried about anti-corruption.
These new documents underscore that fact. A corrupt Ukrainian official wanted Yovanovitch off his back and was willing to trade dirt to get what he wanted. This is just more evidence of the president trading on his public powers for private gain. Indeed, it shows a previous unknown specific ask (to add to the desire by Zelensky for a White House visit as well as the security aid that Trump held up).
It is worth noting that Lev Parnas and his partner, Igor Fruman were arrested in connection to a scheme to oust Yovanovitch (via the NYT, 2 Giuliani Associates Arrested With One-Way Tickets at U.S. Airport):
Mr. Giuliani has been public about his hunt for damaging information about Democrats, and the indictment gives a more complete picture about how he seems to have subcontracted part of the work to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, two of his longtime associates.
It directly connected the two men to a key element of the pressure campaign, an effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, after she became a focus of criticism from many of Mr. Trump’s allies. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman donated money and pledged to raise additional funds in 2018 — some violating legal limits — for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust her, court papers showed.
The lawmaker is named in the indictment only as “Congressman-1,” but campaign finance filings identify him as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas. Mr. Sessions, then the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, wrote a letter in 2018 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch should be fired for privately expressing “disdain” for the current administration.
The whole thing is a corrupt mess and deserves far more scrutiny from the Senate than I fear it will receive.
The cache of docs can be viewed here: Materials provided by Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to the House
So now we’re targeting our own ambassadors…the amount of sleaze coming out of this administration is unreal…of course this will get another shrug from the cultists and the toadies…
Republicans may come to regret dragging their heels on this. More is going to come out. And it’s going to be even worse.
I think it might actually be worse than this. If I’m understanding the reporting correctly (and it itself is correct), Rudy, Parnas and that Hyde weirdo were conspiring to have Amb. Yovanovitch killed. There is a plausible chance that they were just talking about being removed as ambassador, but it really looks like a murder plot to me. The other thing is, it appears that they were so bad at what they were doing that the Ukrainians figured it out and alerted her. Am I completely off base? Because I feel like this is something that would have destroyed people in the past and the Republicans, FBI and AG Barr just seem to be shrugging.
Indeed. Everything that comes out is worse. Drip, drip. This latest batch really starts to connect some dots. And it’s not just that one “perfect” phone call. It is a conspiracy, with Trump at the heart of it.
It needs to be said…has a single morsel of exculpatory evidence come out?
In the real world a Special Counsel/Independent Prosecutor would have been appointed already.
Alternately, Democrats will regret going so fast. They handed off a case that was well proven, but lacking some hook that gets Trump’s weak support to peel off.
If the Senate doesn’t hold real hearings with new evidence, the Democrats in the House need to, and the Democrats in the Senate need to use every procedural trick to slow things down (how often can you deny unanimous consent for procedural things? Let’s find out!)
@Beth: I have seen people inferring this. I would be very cautious about such speculation. I think a lot of people are filling in blanks without evidence.
But: the fact that this guy was clearly watching the ambassador is big enough without having to resort to assuming the worst case scenario.
To be fair, there is nothing in the Constitution that states a President can only be impeached once nor for only for a single crime; in fact, Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 says “impeachments” in the plural so the limit was place on the nature of the eligible crimes, not the number of times it could be invoked . Theoretically, it would be the duty of Congress to impeach and every time the President commits a high crime… but since the duty of Congress would be to remove a criminal President from power, it should only happen once. The Founders assumed that such a President could not and would not be tolerated by an honorable society and so didn’t really consider this happening several times in the same term.
The Dems could have a separate impeachment solely on Yovanovitch if they need it. So long as the evidence is there to support and the will to proceed, there’s absolutely no reason to not do so.
What’s again striking is how much of an ouroboros this story is. Not only is Parnas driving this, he’s also guiding the John Solomon reporting, which in turn, the administration and their backers are using to justify their actions. The further we get into this, the more the entire story is running in circles.
@Steven L. Taylor: I don’t necessarily disagree. It is highly likely that a couple of nobodies like Parnas and Hyde were punching above their weight and trying to look “tough” to the other “TUFF” guys.
But they were clearly talking about watching her and they were clearly talking about having her “removed”. The only thing that needs to come out/be fleshed out for the conspiracy is the overt act (besides her actual removal”).
@Beth: it’s very vague. Some people think it sounds like they’re talking about kidnapping her. Other people think it sounds like a murder plot. When Trump said on the phone to the Ukrainian guy that “she is going to go through some things” what the fuck does that mean? At any rate she had to flee the country. Trump and every one of his stupid enablers should be put on an ice floe and given a hearty push.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to reiterate that this is how Trump does business. It’s the only way he knows how to do business. He lies, cheats, threatens, extorts, and bullies when he can. Why are we surprised?
@CSK: There is a weird state of mind as it pertains to Trump and his behavior wherein one can be surprised-but-not-surprised at the same time.
In this case, I am not surprised, but this is still stunning information.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if we learned that the order to Yovanovitch to leave “on the next plane,” perceived as an unceromonious firing, was someone covertly trying to pull her out of harm’s way.
@Steven L. Taylor: I know. Shocking, but not surprising. I live in the northeast, where it’s been impossible to escape Trump’s shenanigans for the past 30 years. So in a way, this is just more of the same to me. He might have been less dangerous when he was limited to stiffing contractors, tenants, and buyers, but he wasn’t less of a crook or buffoon.
@Steven L. Taylor: I’ve found myself doing a lot a face palming, eye rolling, and muttering “Of course he did” to myself the last three years.
According to commenters at the Gateway Pundit, this new “evidence“ was fabricated by Adam Schiff, just like he fabricated evidence against Kavanaugh.
youtube has my response.
Remember the endless outrage about an Ambassador dying in an unfortunate series of events in Libya? Now, it’s totally fine that the administration might have conspired to whack one. Good times.
@Steven L. Taylor:
It’s possible that Hyde was nuts enough for violence, but that was going too far for Parnas.
This Hyde guy strikes me as one seriously off-his-rocker dude.
Yeah…still waiting for The Hill’s review of Solomon’s work. My guess is we’ll never see it.
I would think that these revelations would justify delaying the sending of the Articles over to the Senate. I’m not sure the Democrats are aggressive enough for that, though.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl: Pelosi’s delay accomplished a couple things. Allowing this to come out is one of them. I don’t think she anticipated this, but it’s a happy accident. McConnell wanted a quick vote to dispose of the whole thing, that’s not going to happen now.
Waiting for @JKB to show up and try to spin this as perfectly reasonable governance in 3… 2… 1…
Where is Hunter Thompson now that we need him? Fear and Loathing at the Rudy Giuliani Circus and Freak Show.
@Steven L. Taylor:
The plain language shows Hyde is discussing that Ambassador Yovanovitch’s physical security is an obstacle. Parnas pretty much goes quiet after that.
Is Hyde playing games with Parnas? Is it a metaphor? Is there a plan to scare, attack, kidnap or murder her? I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s a big jump to say that Parnas thought Hyde was planning a physical altercation.
Trump’s “something is going to happen to her” could easily be “she’s going to be recalled” though.
@Gustopher: Don’t get me wrong: it is serious and has clearly ominous overtones.
But I just caution against assuming we know what it means.
That conversation between Hyde and Parnas? At best, it reads as stalkerish and vaguely menacing. Two dudebros LARPing Boondock Saints or possibly Bad Boys, trying to sound all badass and Bond-ish. It would not be out of place as a transcript from a MMORPG except it’s missing a ton of swears and slurs. Not illegal but the kind of thing that gets you fired for being a creep. Not appropriate in any sort of way and leads you to question WTF is wrong with that guy…..
At worst? They were planning to do something nefarious to her person and trying to psyche themselves up into it. Had that been evidence submitted in a kidnapping, assault or murder trial, you wouldn’t be surprised at all. Casing security repeatedly, tracking movements, documenting rising levels of force security is using as a concern, noting people will “ask questions” if you keep getting seen checking or hanging around…… these are discussions that occur before bad things happen to people.
It’s really hard to give Trump and Co the benefit of the doubt when we just saw him pick the most violent option to deal with someone just a few weeks ago. We saw him order an unnecessary assassination when he had better options. We’ve also seen how passive he was about Khashoggi and some of the commentary he graced us with. We’ve seen him talk about having protesters roughed up and other BS macho talk for several years now. Trump is a man that considers violence against his enemies / people he doesn’t like a viable option and thus those under him would logically be “OK the Boss might be cool with this”.
It is unnervingly possible an ambassador of the US was in danger from her own government for doing her job…. and repubs are already out there trying to lie about this to save their lord and master.
@KM: Didn’t Hyde mention that he had her phone under surveillance or some such? Wouldn’t that qualify as a crime?
What really gets me is this:
That would have been a fine reason to withdraw Ambassador Yovanovitch — there would have been a brief media story if that came out as the reason, but ultimately “she lost confidence in the President, and he lost confidence in her” would have been fine. Better than fine, as it would obscure Trump wanting to install a toady as payoff to get dirt on Biden.
They didn’t need to do cloak and dagger nonsense. No following her, no chatter about her security, none of that. Just fire her, or recall her to Washington and let her work in the State Department with a limited portfolio.
Also, movies really have spoiled us with high expectations for criminals doing this type of stuff. We anticipate criminal masterminds, and we get the guy in our office who can never figure out which printer his documents went to.
Fine, I’m the guy in the office who can’t figure out where my documents are going. If you want me to build a system that can handle 100,000 requests per minute, and do fancy software stuff with it, I’m your guy, but if you ask me to print something you just wasted half my day.
@Mike in Arlington: Hyde was also involuntarily held for a psychiatric evaluation in 2019. He was saying that the Secret Service was after him.
The type of dementia Trump presents ruins judgment, planning, prioritizing early on. Thus, he just has no sense of proportion. It’s as if he has been lobotomized.
That sounds about right given his recent behavior.
@Gustopher: Also true.
@Steven L. Taylor:
This. At least in terms of the President’s statement. As Andy would accurately remind us, this is kinda how he talks (and has talked for years).
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
According the WP inquires, its still occuring but moving very slowly and cautiously (for good reasons):
@Steven L. Taylor: While in a very exacting sense you may be right, think we can go way too far in withholding judgement. Impeachment is not a criminal trial, it is a review by a governing body as to whether the chief executive should keep his position. As such, refusing to cooperate with an investigation is not protected by the fifth amendment but instead is grounds for removal in and of itself
In the movies there are all these criminal masterminds , but in reality there aren’t. One reason is you don’t get chances to practice your craft. First time you fuck up you’re in prison.
I also want to add my two cents in here as a woman. The idea of two or more guys actively creeping on you like Hyde & Parnas were doing takes on a whole new edge of danger then if it had been a man. Bad things can happen to a female in every corner of the world that will get dismissed, ignored, downplayed and even outright ignored by the authorities. Harassment and stalking happens every day and it almost never gets to serious attention it deserves at the time. Yovanovitch had a security team for god’s sake and these yahoo’s seem to have been unnoticed and unaddressed while doing this. They didn’t register as a threat to be watched, let alone addressed. This is a sitting Ambassador in another country that had armed guards on call – imagine how she must feel now that this is coming out and she realizes just how unsafe she could have been. Now imagine being a woman without that kind of protection or power, hearing this story come out and repubs start to act like it’s NBD. Even if they never meant her physical harm, they definitely engaged in sanctioned creeper behavior that a touch too sinister to be able to defend… and yet that’s what they’re doing.
HA HA Cult45
Huge if true.
If the Mike Nifong had notes about plotting the Duke Lacrosse frat gang rape written on hotel stationary by one of the accused, he would have been able to justly convict the rapists* despite his unintentional mishandling DNA evidence.
The walls are closing in.
It is the beginning of the end for Trump.
* If Nifong was not betrayed by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, an all black Durham NC jury would have convicted the Duke Lacrosse frat gang rapists.
Too many people give the administration too much benefit of the doubt. The only time we get any cooperation with oversight committee or the fourth estate is when they are accused of horrible things that they actually haven’t done.
Otherwise it is either stonewalling or transparent lies.
The Prestwick airport was mostly innocuous despite looking bad, and they started answering questions.
Until they are more forthcoming, and until they stop the steady stream of bullshit, I would love to see everything framed in a very hostile manner so they have to respond.
I want a NY Times headline: “Were Trump associates planning to kill our Ambassador?” with a subhead “Some suggest they were merely going to rough her up.”
How else do you cut through the smokescreen of bullshit, NATOMEs and lies?
Forgive me for being blunt, but what the hell are you talking about?
@CSK: Paul has an Obsessive Rumination problem with the Duke Lacrosse Case. He seems to regard it as a totemic example of how the lying blacks, with the help of traitorous academic liberals, will destroy innocent whites.
I lived in an apartment complex off of Highway 54 in south Durham when the case happened. 90% of the people I lived around were black and none of them gave a shit about that case.
This piece of irrefutable smoking gun evidence that would result in a slam dunk conviction in any criminal legal case.
Better than video of someone (not a hero cop) shooting a helpless person in the back.
The walls are closing in.
It is the beginning of the end for Trump.
@Paul L.: Paul, I was confused by the conflation of the Trump case with the Duke case–and I still am. And I was under the distinct impression that you are pro-Trump. Perhaps I am wrong about that.
…irrefutable smoking gun evidence that would result in a slam dunk conviction in any criminal legal case.
Besides you, who else has made this claim?
The behavior is not defensible, even under the best interpretation. And it adds further substance to the impeachment inquiry.
I just think leaping to the worst possible interpretation is letting one’s imagination outpace known facts.
Stay on topic.
I will delete subsequent Duke Lacrosse comments. You have utterly worn that shtick out.
@CSK: It is some tic he has. Please ignore as nothing of any usefulness comes of it.
It truly is pointless.
This post was deleted for being off topic
@Steven L. Taylor: dangit. I enjoy laughing at lunacy. Well to be fair, I am a bad person. 😛
@Teve: My patience for that bit has been utterly exhausted.
@Steven L. Taylor: I generally do not respond to bizarre/OT/incomprehensible posts, but that one had me genuinely puzzled.
Thank you, now I finally see the connection between the Duke Lacrosse Incident and the stalking/ousting of Ambassador Yovanovitch for personal political gain.
You may want to check my comment here. Especially this quote: “Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. “
something nefarious to her person…
We ought not get ahead of the evidence. One, the most generous interpretation is pretty damning. And two, we get the, ‘You stupid libtards accused Trump of planning to kill the Ambassador’, thereby allowing them to ignore any lesser intent.
But the President pretty clearly seems to be working for his own advantage and Russia’s over the country’s interests. Is guilty of crimes beyond a reasonable doubt really the appropriate standard for removing him? (Noting that even that standard won’t be enough for Republican senators.)
@KM: I can’t stop thinking about the part of her House testimony when she was talking about having to leave Ukraine immediately….obviously, visibly emotional, and then THIS comes out. I suspect she probably had some idea of “what”, but the “who” may have been a mystery. Until now. When she finds out there was a mentally ill guy with a history of stalking watching her, with unknown motives. Possibly sent by top people in her own government, and the Secretary of State.
I wonder if there is any way that Paul L. or Guarneri or anyone else can legitimately defend this trash…
Maddow is on with an interview from earlier today with Lev Parnas. I’d say it’s a must watch, but it’ll be all over front pages in the morning. So far: Trump knew everything Parnas and Giuliani were doing, Bolton knew all about it can say so.
@An Interested Party: Short answer is no, they’re apparently distracted by reflections on Duke LaCrosse and Michael Avennati. JKB is radio silent, but I’m sure Hannity will give him his marching orders soon.
They’re really not sending us their best people.
What a whiny entitled bitch…actually, I should apologize for that, as describing him that way is an insult to bitches…
Think we should build that wall?
He puts Pence in the jackpot too.
@Kurtz: I might build one, but only libtards are getting in. 🙂 According to the climate change maps, where I live is going to be one of the last remaining habitable places in 2040-2060. And y’all are still gonna have to bring your furs, I highly doubt Lady Mountain is going to let us off easy.
I mean, like, the Mexican wall is soooooo 2010’s. 😉
@Kurtz: And Devin Nunes.
@Kurtz: That’s why I was curious about your essay, to be honest. A lot of the “homeless problem” Barb complains about is going to get worse. Land prices are escalating fast. Wages are not keeping up. The things we are seeing now, coastal, temperate cities struggling with an already difficult “affordable housing” crisis haven’t even REALLY begun to feel it.
Nobody deserves to be thrown under the bus harder than Devin Nunes.
@An Interested Party:Defend? Absolutely. Legitimately? That will depend on the audience. If the audience is people like you, no. JKB, Jenos, SuperD, probably.
It’s coming. There is a section that has thrown me a bit, but I think I’ve got it down.
Parnas says he never took Hyde seriously, that Hyde was a drunk he met at the Trump DC Hotel bar who was drunk texting about surveilling Yovanovich trying to look like a player. Maddow noted the Hyde texts were spread over seven days, he wouldn’t have been drunk the whole time. Parnas replied yeah, he would.
They made the bar at Trump DC sound like Rick’s Cafe, except instead of the Lisbon plane, all the eccentrics and hustlers were trying to get on the Trump Grift Express.
So next week when the usual suspects say, ha, you libtards were wrong about trailing the ambassador, reply that it was RACHEL MADDOW who debunked it.
What, and cause a delay in the DC transportation system?
That’s just wrong.
@gVOR08: I don’t trust Parnas one bit, honestly. There’s lots of stuff that he brings up that needs to be corroborated.
But in the meantime, I think we can safely say that this was not good for Trump. And most of the time, whatever bad things we believe about Trump turn out to be optimistic.
All of Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to publicly announce they are opening a probe have paid off!
Once again, everything Trump ever alleged or hinted at about the Clintons or Obama is about what he actually did. Does Trump have any interests in pizza parlours? Just asking.
As for whether there was violence planned or not, it wouldn’t surprise me if Parnas got too excited over this task and talked in a way that would lead nutcase Hyde into thinking, and getting even more excited over, the spy/assassin stuff. All these RWNJs think like is a movie, where you cut corners, do what you want, use violence, and get the girl in the end. I suppose the saving grace is that I’ve yet to see anyone competent enough to actually pull something like that off.
@Pylon: I’ve been wonder about that. Per Parnas, Hyde inserted himself into this. For Hyde to know about Ukraine, someone, presumably Parnas, had to tell Hyde about it. Who else did Parnas tell?
And Bill Barr seems competent. A complete ahole, but competent.