Two associates of Rudy Giuliani who assisted in efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden, have been arrested “on federal charges of violating campaign finance laws through a six-figure donation they facilitated to President Donald Trump’s official super PAC,” the Daily Beast reports.
The NYT reports: ‘The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, were arrested on campaign finance charges. The arrests and charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump.’
The Daily Beast adds: “Parnas and Fruman are central to an ongoing impeachment inquiry against Trump. The two men assisted Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, in his efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s political opponents in Ukraine. Among the objectives they sought was the removal of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, whom Giuliani believed was standing in the way of investigations he and Trump wanted to see launched into Joe and Hunter Biden’s work in the country. The campaign finance allegations against them are inextricably linked with that effort. Prosecutors say their extensive political contributions, beginning in early 2018, were designed to curry favor with American policymakers in an effort to advance Parnas’ and Fruman’s political and business endeavors.”
The men were trying to flee the country when arrested, according to MSNBC.
The Soviet-born businessmen had been scheduled for depositions with House investigators this week though neither had been expected to show up.
Though Giuliani has identified the men as “clients,” Parnas and Fruman have hired Trump’s former attorney John Dowd to represent them.
Details of the indictment are expected later on Thursday.