Rudy Giuliani has decided – in his infinite wisdom – to defy a congressional subpoena.
“If they enforce it then we will see what happens”, he told ABC on Tuesday, adding that he’s no longer using Jon Sale as his lawyer. “Jon has done what I retained him for”, he later said in comments to Politico. Sale sent a letter to the House Intelligence Committee advising Adam Schiff that Giuliani would not comply with the subpoena “because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate ‘impeachment inquiry”.
The former New York mayor turned-raving conspiracy theorist was subpoenaed late last month in connection with the House’s ongoing investigation into Donald Trump.
House Democrats’ probe increasingly revolves around Giuliani and his shadow diplomacy in Ukraine. “Our inquiry includes an investigation of credible allegations that you acted as an agent of the President in a plot to advance his personal political interests by abusing the power of the Office of the President”, House investigators wrote to Rudy on September 30.
In the two weeks since, the walls have closed in. Giuliani is reportedly under investigation by Manhattan prosecutors for his lobbying efforts in Ukraine after his fixers in the country were arrested on campaign finance charges tied to a scheme that resulted in the ouster of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
His two fixers – Florida businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman – have been photographed with Trump and Don Jr. and worked with Ukrainian contacts to spin a story which they then pitched to former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions. Sessions pushed for Yovanovitch’s removal, but has denied wrongdoing.
Giuliani on Tuesday told Reuters he received $500,000 in compensation working for a company co-founded by Parnas. The Boca-based entity called – and we kid you not – “Fraud Guarantee” purports to assist clients in “reducing and mitigating fraud”.
Rudy told Reuters the company “engaged Giuliani Partners, a management and security consulting firm, around August 2018… to consult on Fraud Guarantee’s technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues”.
So, let’s just take a moment to recap. Lev Parnas was arrested last week on charges including conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud. He was at the center of Giuliani’s pressure campaign aimed at compelling the Ukrainians to conduct investigations aimed at influencing the 2020 US election. While that alleged campaign finance fraud was going on, Giuliani was paid a half million dollars for “consultation” work with a Parnas-owned company called “Fraud Guarantee”, and part of that consulting involved “legal advice”.
It’s almost too stupid to believe. The jokes just write themselves.
The money from the company “came in two payments made within weeks of each other”, Giuliani told Reuters, adding that although “most of the work he did for Fraud Guarantee was completed in 2018… he had been doing follow-up for over a year”.
Fruman received two $500,000 wire transfers from an unnamed Russian in September and October of 2018. That money was then doled out by Fruman, Parnas and two co-conspirators in a bid to buy influence, according to the indictment.
Asked whether maybe – just maybe – any of the $500,000 that Rudy received from “Fraud Guarantee” might have come from that pool of Russian cash, Giuliani says he’s absolutely sure that’s not the case.
“I know beyond any doubt the source of the money is not any questionable source”, he insisted during his interview with Reuters. “The money did not come from foreigners. I can rule that out 100%”.
All you can do is laugh. Because it really is funny. And also somewhat sad.