Dem House slaps Giuliani associates with subpoenas hours after arrest – not under Trump’s umbrella

Associates of Rudy Giuliani who were arrested on campaign finance charges were just issued subpoenas by House Democrats.

Democratic chairmen of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees – which are leading the impeachment inquiry of President Trump – issued the subpoenas Thursday just hours after Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested.

(Image: Alexandria Sheriff’s Office)

The Florida businessmen, who are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia on Thursday on campaign finance-related charges, helped the president’s lawyer investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and connections to Ukraine.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, and Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel subpoenaed the men for documents that they want to be turned over by October 16.

“Your clients are private citizens who are not employees of the Executive Branch,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to John Dowd, the attorney for Parnas and Fruman who were born in the former Soviet Union.

“They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry. They are required by law to comply with the enclosed subpoenas. They are not exempted from this requirement merely because they happen to work with Mr. Giuliani, and they may not defy congressional subpoenas merely because President Trump has chosen the path of denial, defiance, and obstruction,” the letter stated, referring to the White House’s refusal to allow any Trump administration officials to testify before the committees.

The Trump administration blocked U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland from an appearance before Congress earlier this week and also made clear in a scathing letter that it would not comply with Democrats and their  “constitutionally invalid” impeachment inquiry.

Parnas and Fruman reportedly set up interviews and helped Giuliani in his investigation of Biden and any potential Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election and allegedly sought the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

The men were arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy, lying to the Federal Election Commission, and falsifying records, allegedly reporting a $325,000 contribution to the pro-Trump super PAC America First last year so as to “obtain access to exclusive political events and gain influence with politicians.”

The men’s attorney confirmed in a letter last week to the committees that his clients “assisted Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of President Trump” and were represented by Giuliani “in connection with their personal and business affairs.”

But he told the lawmakers that the men had not been given enough time to prepare documents and testimony and would not comply with the committees’ request.

According to The Hill:

The committees said that Dowd, on behalf of Parnas and Fruman, sent an email on Wednesday saying they “agree with and adopt the position of the White House counsel” refusing to cooperate with Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

The subpoena demands that Parnas and Fruman hand over documents and communications related to efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate matters related to the Biden family, the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton.

 

The committees also demanded in the subpoenas that documents be turned over that were related to contributions or “offers of anything of value” made to political campaigns and parties.

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