The House Intelligence Committee Identifies Trump’s Accomplices

The House Intelligence Committee released its report on the impeachment hearings and there is going to be a lot of information to digest from its 300 pages. But the first thing that grabbed my attention was that the authors didn’t hesitate to identify Trump’s accomplices. Here is part of the opening statement from Representative Adam Schiff (emphasis mine).

The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.  As described in this executive summary and the report that follows, President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign.  The President demanded that the newly-elected Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce investigations into a political rival that he apparently feared the most, former Vice President Joe Biden, and into a discredited theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 presidential election.  To compel the Ukrainian President to do his political bidding, President Trump conditioned two official acts on the public announcement of the investigations:  a coveted White House visit and critical U.S. military assistance Ukraine needed to fight its Russian adversary…

Although President Trump’s scheme intentionally bypassed many career personnel, it was undertaken with the knowledge and approval of senior Administration officials, including the President’s Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

In the preface, another person was added to the list.

Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain.  Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.

Implicated in the president’s impeachable offenses are Pence, Pompeo, Mulvaney, and Perry. All of them were “either knowledgeable or active participants” in the extortion of a foreign government for Trump’s political gain.

When it comes to the behind-the-scenes work of Giuliani, I had previously identified the cast of characters he assembled.

Connectors: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman
Reporter: John Solomon
Lawyers: Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova

According to the Intelligence Committee’s report, their complicity was even deeper than we knew and included one other player: Representative Devin Nunes.

CNN had previously reported that Lev Parnas was willing to testify that Nunes met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin in Vienna last December. But telephone records obtained by the committee show the web of people involved in Giuliani’s racket talking to each other (as well as the White House) on a regular basis. Included were several calls during significant events between Giuliani and Nunes, as well as between Parnas and Nunes.

Earlier this year I speculated that Representative Nunes was Trump’s mole inside the “gang of eight” involved with intelligence briefings on the Trump-Russia investigation. Apparently he continued in a similar capacity for the Ukraine affair. This time, however, Nunes appears to be complicit in the activities undertaken by Giuliani on behalf of Trump.

We already knew that the legal team of Toensing and diGenova represented both John Solomon and Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin. But the House Intelligence Committee documents that they had three other Ukrainian clients.

Beginning in mid-April, Ms. Toensing signed retainer agreements between diGenova & Toensing LLP and Mr. Lutsenko, Mr. Kulyk, and Mr. Shokin—all of whom feature in Mr. Solomon’s opinion pieces. In these retainer agreements, the firm agreed to represent Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Kulyk in meetings with U.S. officials regarding alleged “evidence” of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and to represent Mr. Shokin “for the purpose of collecting evidence regarding his March 2016 firing as Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the role of Vice President Biden in such firing, and presenting such evidence to U.S. and foreign authorities.” On July 25, President Trump would personally press President Zelensky to investigate these very same matters.

Just to be clear, all three of those clients are former corrupt Ukrainian prosecutors, with Kostiantyn Kulyk being the most recent to be fired as a result of President Zelensky’s anti-corruption efforts.

Zelensky’s new prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka — “100 percent my person,” Zelensky told Trump in July — last week gave a dismissal notice to Kulyk, a key player in the effort to provide Giuliani with political ammunition of dubious accuracy. Kulyk denies meeting Giuliani, but former associates say he prepared a seven-page dossier that his boss later passed along to the former New York mayor.

Demonstrating what Josh Kovensky described as a “mad scramble in Trumpworld” after it became clear that Zelenksy would win the election in April and the deal Giuliani had bartered with former Ukrainian President Poroshenko would go down the tubes, Toensing and diGenova signed on as legal counsel for the three corrupt prosecutors in mid-April in order to get dirt on Trump’s political opponents. It was all part of the plan to put pressure on the incoming president of Ukraine.

The report from the House Intelligence Committee thoroughly documents Trump’s impeachable offenses. But he didn’t act alone. They also document the actions of the president’s accomplices, both inside and outside the administration.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.