The two associates of Rudy Giuliani arrested on campaign finance charges were reportedly getting ready to leave the country.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani associates who reportedly helped in his effort to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, were arrested Wednesday, and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman on Thursday announced they've been indicted on campaign finance charges for allegedly "[breaking] the law to gain political influence while avoiding disclosure of who was actually making the donations and where the money was coming from."
The two men were arrested at about 6 p.m. at Dulles Airport, Berman told reporters, "as they were about to board an international flight with one-way tickets." Giuliani told The Wall Street Journalthey were traveling to Vienna for business reasons that he didn't specify; the Journal reports Parnas and Fruman had lunch with Giuliani the same day as their arrest.
Prosecutors say Parnas and Fruman contributed $325,000 to "committee-1," America First Action, through a corporation set up to disguise that the money was coming from them. They also allegedly contributed over $20,000 to "congressman-1," reported to be former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), with America First Action also donating to to the Republican congressman. Parnas and Fruman were, on behalf of a Ukrainian government official, lobbying for the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, in meetings with Sessions, prosecutors said.
This comes as Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry sparked by his call with Ukraine during which he pushed for an investigation into Biden and recommend the Ukrainian president speak with his personal lawyer, Giuliani. House Democrats have now issued a subpoena for Parnas and Fruman, who had depositions scheduled for this week, CNN reports. The Washington Post reports prosecutors said in court Thursday they're concerned Parnas and Fruman are flight risks. Brendan Morrow