By Robert A. Vella

Last night, Rachel Maddow concluded her two-hour interview with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.  In it, he implicated additional people in President Trump‘s scheme to coerce the Ukrainian government for personal political gain including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, White House Counsel Jay Sekulow, Trump lawyer John Dowd, and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.  Here are the highlights and further reading, plus today’s other news which includes a shocking election security investigation in Georgia indicating that the 2016 gubernatorial vote was compromised or even fixed:

  • Parnas said that Trump’s corruption as president was unleashed when William Barr took over as Attorney General, and he described Republican loyalty to Trump as a “cult.”
  • Parnas said that he witnessed Trump impulsively ordering the firing of then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch at a private dinner party, but that the order was ignored by the State Department. Later, Trump tried again by ordering then-National Security Advisor John Bolton to fire her, but that order was ignored too.  After several more attempts, Mike Pompeo finally agreed to do so.
  • Parnas said that Rudy Giuliani instructed Rick Perry to personally demand that Ukraine investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
  • The evidence Parnas gave to the House of Representatives included a letter from Jay Sekulow relaying Trump’s approval to provide him legal assistance after he was arrested. He also said that Sekulow was informed of the Ukrainian situation by Rudy Giuliani.
  • Parnas said that another illegal quid pro quo was attempted before the withholding of military aid to Ukraine when Yuriy Lutsenko offered to dig up dirt on the Bidens in exchange for the removal of Yovanovitch whom Lutsenko saw as an obstacle to his ambitions.
  • When John Dowd and another lawyer met Parnas in jail and curtly told him to keep quiet about the Ukraine scandal (this is evidence of unethical legal practices as well as obstruction of justice and contempt of congress), he realized that Trump had turned on him and he immediate fired both lawyers.
  • Parnas feared what might happen to him in Department of Justice custody under Barr.

From:  Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas speaks again: ‘It was all about 2020’

Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani’s former business associate, said on CNN Thursday night that his view of his and Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine was that “it was all about 2020, to make sure [Trump] had another four years.”

“That’s the way everybody viewed it,” Parnas said. “There was no other reason for doing it.”

The statement came during Parnas’s second night of back-to-back television interviews, during which he implicated President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Devin Nunes, and the Trump legal team in activities central to the House impeachment investigation and Trump’s Senate trial.

From:  Here’s what the Parnas revelations mean for Trump

Text exchanges show potential surveillance of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Digital chats reveal Ukraine’s former prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, dangling dirt on Biden in exchange for Yovanovitch’s firing.


Previously, sworn testimony from career diplomats and foreign service officers had shown that the Yovanovitch smear campaign was waged by Parnas, Fruman, Giuliani and the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. The circle was actually wider than that, though, according to the new Parnas materials. A lawyer with close ties to the White House, Victoria Toensing, was also eager to see Yovanovitch removed.


Toensing and her husband, Joe diGenova, represent Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who is fighting extradition to the U.S. and reportedly leveraged his network of sources in Ukraine to help pursue the political probes sought by Giuliani and Trump. Parnas told MSNBC on Wednesday that he tried to get the extradition order quashed in exchange for Firtash’s help undermining special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and digging up dirt on Biden.


The documents also include an email from Trump’s other lawyer, Jay Sekulow, revealing that Sekulow spoke to Trump about his former lawyer John Dowd representing Parnas and Fruman. “The president consents to allowing your representation of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Furman [sic],” Sekulow wrote on October 2, 2019.

See also:

Giuliani associate points to Pence snub as Ukraine pressure point

Lev Parnas: ‘I Felt Like My Family Left Me’

Ex-White House Ethics Chief Calls McConnell A ‘Perjurer’ After Senator Takes Impeachment Oath: He Said ‘The Exact Opposite’

Trump Legal Team to Add Starr and Dershowitz for Senate Trial

FBI visits Robert Hyde’s home and office after he’s swept into Ukraine scheme

Today’s other news

From:  Virginia Capital on Edge as F.B.I. Arrests Suspected Neo-Nazis Before Gun Rally

RICHMOND, Va. — Alarming calls online for a race war. The arrest of three suspected neo-Nazis. Memories of the explosive clashes in Charlottesville, Va., three years ago.

A sense of crisis enveloped the capital of Virginia on Thursday, with the police on heightened alert and Richmond bracing for possible violence ahead of a gun rally next week that is expected to draw white supremacists and other anti-government extremists.

Members of numerous armed militias and white power proponents vowed to converge on the city despite the state of emergency declared by Gov. Ralph Northam, who temporarily banned weapons from the grounds of the State Capitol. The potential for an armed confrontation prompted fears of a rerun of the 2017 far-right rally that left one person dead and some two dozen injured in Charlottesville, about an hour’s drive from Monday’s rally.

From:  Expert: Georgia election server showed signs of tampering

BOSTON (AP) — A computer security expert says he found that a forensic image of the election server central to a legal battle over the integrity of Georgia elections showed signs that the original server was hacked.

The server was left exposed to the open internet for at least six months, a problem the same expert discovered in August 2016. It was subsequently wiped clean in mid-2017 with no notice, just days after election integrity activists filed a lawsuit seeking an overhaul of what they called the state’s unreliable and negligently run election system.

In late December 2019, the plaintiffs were finally able to obtain a copy of the server’s contents that the FBI made in March 2017 and retained — after the state allegedly dragged its feet in securing the image.


Lamb also said he determined that computer logs — which would have been critical to understanding what might have been altered on or stolen from the server — only go back to Nov. 10, 2016 — two days after Donald Trump was elected U.S. president. Two years later, Brian Kemp won the Georgia governor’s race by a narrow margin over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

From:  Florida Supreme Court rules felons must pay off fines before voting

Florida’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a law requiring convicted felons to pay off any fines or fees related to their sentence before being able to vote is fair. The opinion sided with Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who had upheld the Republican-controlled legislatures’ decision.

The issue arose after Florida voters n 2018 overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure, known as Amendment 4, that amended the state’s constitution to give voting rights to former felons — restoring nearly 1.4 million people’s right to vote.

Trump rolls out policies that would push federal funds to religious groups and advance prayer in public schools

9 thoughts on “Part-two of Lev Parnas’ interview with Rachel Maddow, plus today’s other news

      • I don’t understand your comment, Robert. My comment meant that though we are putting so much energy into trying to uncover deep corruption and getting people to pay attention to facts, the corporate manipulators might negate it all with election fraud. It’s a horrible possibility. It had nothing to do with your integrity.


        • I’m as opposed to unrestrained corporate power as anyone. But, when commenters make broad and vague assertions such as “the corporate manipulators” committing “election fraud” without supporting evidence or even a well-reasoned rationale, it certainly does offend me. I despise rhetoric whether it’s right-wing, left-wing, or centrist.

          Regarding the Georgia case cited in this post, the means and opportunity to commit election fraud was solely in the hands of state Republicans. If their corporate sponsors were involved, please show me some facts.


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