Since reports that Rudy Giuliani was the subject of a federal criminal investigation first surfaced earlier this month, a steady stream of damaging information about the former New York City mayor and his links to foreign officials has continued to flow into the public sphere. That trend continued Monday, when Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch facing criminal charges in the U.S. told the New York Times that Giuliani and his now-indicted former business associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman promised to use their connections at the Department of Justice to help him in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden.
Firtash, who has known ties to Russian organized crime, told the Times he met with Parnas and Fruman in June where they offered to assist him with the bribery and racketeering charges in the Northern District of Illinois if he hired attorneys Joe diGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing as his legal representation.
DiGenova and Toensing, both of whom are staunch supporters of President Donald Trump, had already been helping Giuliani in his attempts to dig up dirt on the Bidens; Firtash maintains that he knows of no information that would damage the former vice president.
You may recognize the husband and wife attorney team from their Fox News appearances, and for their representation of both Firtash and John Solomon. Solomon’s articles while he was still working at The Hill made the Biden conspiracy a mainstream and enduring talking point.
DiGenova and Toensing did manage to score a rare face-to-face meeting with Attorney General William Barr last month. Barr reportedly “declined to intercede” on Firtash’s behalf and the Department of Justice is continuing to fight for his extradition from Austria.
“Without my will and desire, I was sucked into this internal U.S. fight,” Firtash claimed, saying that he’d already paid diGenova and Toensing $1.2 million.
Giuliani called the story fake news on Monday.
The NYT today has so much #FAKENEWS!
1. I did not ask anyone to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and certainly not with Dimitry Firtash, who I have never met or talked to.
2. I never heard of Shokin meeting w/Congressman Nunes.
How many times can a source lie? Law suit?
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) November 25, 2019
“The NYT today has so much #FAKENEWS! 1. I did not ask anyone to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and certainly not with Dimitry Firtash, who I have never met or talked to. 2. I never heard of Shokin meeting w/Congressman Nunes,” Giuliani said. “How many times can a source lie? Law suit?”
Former federal prosecutor Chuck Rosenberg told the Times that Giuliani’s alleged attempts to solicit information by leveraging his political connection to the president, his personal client, was, “at best crass and ethically suspect.”
“And it is even worse if Mr. Giuliani, either directly or through emissaries acting on his behalf, intimated that pending criminal cases can be ‘fixed’ at the Justice Department,” Rosenberg said. “The president’s lawyer seems to be trading on the president’s supervisory authority over the Justice Department, and that is deeply disturbing.”
Others legal analysts agreed that if this is true it’s explicit corruption.
‘Even for this administration, this is next level, explicit, criminal corruption,” remarked MSNBC legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah.
“If true, this is jaw dropping. Of course, it didn’t work out, so perhaps it was just fluffing, but we need to know more,” former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance commented.
Attorney David Colapinto, an advocate for whistleblowers, noted the upshot of the report.
“Interesting report. If true, $1.2 million paid by a fugitive oligarch to Joe diGenova & Victoria Toensing is more than what Hunter Biden allegedly was paid to serve on board of Burisma,” he said, before asking, “Will FoxNews hosts ask them about this next time they appear to trash the #Whistleblower?”
Parnas’s lawyer Joseph A. Bondy said his client, who is now cooperating with congressional investigators, made the offer to Firtash at Giuliani’s direction, which he reasonably believed “reflected the interest and wishes of the president.”
Parnas also provided congressional investigators in the House Intelligence Committee with audio and video recordings on Sunday, which purportedly feature both Giuliani and President Trump, though the exact nature of the recordings’ contents is unknown.
Further complicating Giuliani’s legal predicament, Andriy Kobolyev, the CEO of Ukraine’s state-owned gas and oil company Naftogaz said on Friday that he would be willing to provide testimony to U.S. federal prosecutors currently investigating Giuliani’s foreign business dealings in the region.
“I will with a high likelihood be invited to testify in this case,” Kobolyev said. “If I am called, I would be willing to come and testify.”
[Image via DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images]