Rudy Giulian's Mystery of the Vienna Trip
President Trump's personal lawyer told me that he planned to fly to Vienna about 24 hours after his business associates were arrested because they were ready to do the same.
Last night, when Rudy Giuliani told me she couldn't get an interview, her reason was sensible: as with many late nights, she had to show up to Hannitus. When I suggested it this evening, his response was a bit more curious. We should have lunch, Giuliani told me, because he was about to fly to Vienna at night. Besides, he did not offer any details.
Giuliani called me at 6:22 p.m. last night - around the same time two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested at Dulles Airport while waiting for one-way international flights to board. As the Wall Street Journal reported this afternoon, the two men had been taken to Vienna. Florida businessmen known to have helped Giuliani in his alleged efforts to investigate Joe Biden and his family before the 2020 elections were charged with violating campaign finance, with prosecutors claiming they had conspired to pay Russian donor money. Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
But today, confirming that Parnas and Fruman were traveling to Vienna on business issues, Giuliani told the Journal that he had no plans to meet them until they returned to Washington. According to this logic, Giuliani also planned to fly to Vienna from his business partners in about 24 hours, but do not do any business with them if all three were there.
Giuliani told me this morning that he should rearrange our lunch. I have tried to reach him to discuss, among other things, the arrests of Parnas and Fruman. When I called at 15:00 ET to inquire about my Vienna trip, the woman who claimed to be her communications director answered the phone. I've called her more than 100 times in the last year and this is the first time this has ever happened. He said he should come back to me. As we spoke, I heard a voice that resembled Giuliani's "asshole" in the background. "Oh, I'm sorry," she told me. "He talked to the TV."
Parnas and Fruman, both of Soviet origin, have helped Giuliani help develop Ukrainian contacts in his quest to prove that Biden, during his time as vice president, tried to postpone an investigation into the Ukrainian gas company, chaired by his son Hunter Biden. . Parnas, for example, told NPR that he had made a Skype call between Giuliani and former Ukrainian Attorney General Viktor Shokin to discuss their theory of corruption. Parnas also attended meetings earlier this year in New York and Warsaw with former Ukrainian Attorney General Giuliani and Yuri Lutsenko.
I met Parnas and Fruman in March when I joined Giuliani in the Shelly's Back Room, a Cigar Bar, to discuss the forthcoming report by Special Advisor Robert Mueller on Russia's interference in the 2016 elections. While sliding the glasses on the back of a Macallan - a double, one big ice cube - and smoking a Nicaragua cigar, Giuliani told me he had known Parna for two years. Parnas laughed and said he had grown up to be Giuliani's idol. As they discussed how the Mueller probe would likely mean anything, Parnas added that firing former FBI leader James Comey was Trump's "constitutional right." When I introduced myself when I arrived, Fruman was quiet. Parnas told me that they are all great friends and work together.
Federal prosecutors accused Parnas and Fruman, on behalf of one or more Ukrainian officials, of interfering in American political activity, in addition to fictitious prosecutor's offices allegedly donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and Trump's supernatural super-PAC. In a 21-page indictment, prosecutors allege that Parnas and Fruman were lobbying to overthrow US Ambassador Marie Yovanovits in Kiev - a request that Giuliani also claimed was biased towards the president. In May, Trump ordered the removal of Yovanovits.
The White House has kept Mommy on arrest. Along with Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow told reporters that Trump and his campaign had "nothing to do with the scheme that these guys were involved in."
However, it is difficult to know exactly what Trump may or may not know about Parnas and Fruman, given that Giuliani and Trump are in constant contact and that, at least on a regular basis, at least regularly, Trump is aware of his maneuvering in Ukraine. Probably the issues the House Democrats had in mind when they defeated Giuliani and Parnas and Fruman last month. Giuliani said he refused to give testimony to the House Intelligence Committee or provide documents. Parnas and Fruman, for their part, are being held in Virginia prison on a $ 1 million bond.
Trump already wants to distance himself from the controversy. "I don't know these gentlemen," the president told reporters before heading to the Minnesota Rally. "Now it is possible that I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everyone." (Actually, she has a picture with Parna.)