During the impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, we got a pretty good look at the cast of characters who were working both the regular and irregular channels of diplomacy with Ukraine. But behind the scenes, there was a whole other group that was working with Giuliani. We need an organizational chart for these folks.
Point man: Rudy Giuliani
Connectors: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman
Reporter: John Solomon
Lawyers: Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova
All of those players are central to the story told in the New York Times on Monday about how the team worked Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin and, according to the US Justice Department, Russian organized crime. Since 2014, Firtash has been facing charges of bribery in U.S. federal court.
Giuliani wanted Firtash to help him dig up dirt on the Bidens, so he sent Parnas and Fruman to meet with the oligarch and make an offer: hire Toensing and diGenova, who can help you plead your case directly to Attorney General William Barr in exchange for any dirt you have on the Bidens.
Firtash agreed to the deal and paid the lawyers $1.2 million ($200,000 went to Parnas as a “finder’s fee”). Soon thereafter, “confidential documents from Mr. Firtash’s case file began to find their way into articles by John Solomon, a conservative reporter whom Mr. Giuliani has acknowledged using to advance his claims about the Bidens.” The pro for that quid also materialized, even if it came a bit late.
Ms. Toensing and Mr. diGenova soon delivered for Mr. Firtash, arranging the meeting with Attorney General Barr. But by the time they met, in mid-August, the ground had shifted: The whistle-blower’s complaint laying out Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky, and Mr. Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine, had been forwarded to the Justice Department and described in detail to Mr. Barr…
The department declined to comment, but Mr. Firtash said the attorney general ultimately told the lawyers to “go back to Chicago,” where the case had initially been brought, and deal with prosecutors there.
The interconnections among this group of players is breathtaking. Giuliani and diGenova have known each other since the 1980s when the former served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the latter as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Toensing and diGenova were not only the lawyers representing Firtash, they also represent John Solomon. Apparently being someone’s lawyer means previewing their articles prior to publication.
Solomon, who is now a Fox News contributor, also featured in documents the State Department’s Inspector General gave Congress earlier this month that revealed a campaign to smear Yovanovitch and the Bidens.
Included in the roughly 50-page packet was an email from Solomon to Toensing, diGenova, and Parnas previewing an article he’d written that was not yet published. The story claimed that the Obama administration had directed Ukrainian prosecutors to drop an investigation into a group “co-funded by both the Obama administration and the liberal megadonor George Soros.”
After that email became public, Solomon claimed he was simply fact-checking the piece before it was published. But Toensing, diGenova, and Parnas are not mentioned in the article, raising the possibility that the trio, who had been working to find evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine, had been working directly with Solomon on the story.
There is no one more responsible for spreading anti-semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros than diGenova, as we saw recently during an interview with Lou Dobbs.
“Well, there’s no doubt that George Soros controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department,” the far-right lawyer exclaimed. “He also controls the activities of FBI agents overseas who work for [non-governmental organizations]…
The former U.S. attorney, who is a frequent guest on Fox opinion shows, went on claim that Soros “had a daily opportunity to tell the State Department” what to do in Ukraine and “ran it.”
“He corrupted FBI officials, he corrupted foreign service officers,” diGenova concluded.
When it comes to representing Firtash, there is a reason why diGenova was able to arrange a meeting with the attorney general. The two have known each other for 30 years.
During his first stint as attorney general, Barr tapped diGenova — who was then a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia — as an independent counsel to review allegations that State Department officials improperly accessed Bill Clinton’s passport records.
What we can take from all of this is that the team of Toensing and diGenova were up to their eyeballs in the extortion racket run by Giuliani on Trump’s behalf. I doubt that lawyer-client privilege protects them from offering Firtash help with the Justice Department in exchange for dirt on the Bidens. That is pretty much the definition of criminal corruption, for which they were paid more than Hunter Biden got for serving on the board of Burisma.
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