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Russian’s $1 million to Parnas: Another stubborn fact for Trump surrogates to wave off

Attorney Scott Pilutik wrestles with the news of the day, from a lawyerly perspective…

[Regarding this story… Giuliani associate received $1 million payment from Ukrainian oligarch’s lawyer: prosecutor]

While Trump surrogates are breaking their brains to conceive of a conspiracy theory from cheesecloth and fairy dust that might exonerate him if you squint just so, it’s against a backdrop of a daily deluge of damning actual facts that John Le Carré would probably flinch at as cliched.

Such as this one, where in court it was revealed that a Russian oligarch paid $1 million to Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas only three months ago. While the specific nature of the transaction isn’t clear, imagine the same fact held to Trump’s innuendo-is-good-enough-to-tweet standard. We’d never stop hearing about it. But here in reality-world, it’s just Tuesday.


Viewed from far above, the one consistent theme through all this is that Russian money has corruptly infected big chunks of the Republican party to varying degrees. I think it’s one of the main reasons Republicans have stood behind Trump even as the picture becomes damning and clearer — if Trump’s accepting and hiding the source of Russian money is politically fatal (Trump evidently thinks so), so too it might be fatal for everyone else, even for those didn’t jump in the deep end of the pool as did Trump, Manafort, and Giuliani — with their pants on, heedless that it would ever become a problem (in each case, long prior to 2016).

The bottom line is that if taking Russian money (no matter the circuitous route it took to get there or whatever the reason) is a crime, everyone is adversely implicated.

It may have felt like “just money” at the time, but from those payments for dubiously-labeled services comes implicit, lifelong servitude. Once you’re in bed with corrupt lenders, you’re forever in bed because the corrupt money cares less than you do of being smoked out.

And so it goes that our new normal, much of which is compounded by the president’s podium and power, is a nonstop smokescreen to project and deflect the worst and same allegations onto whomever (but mostly the Bidens, at least for the moment) in order to render the truth unknowable and kick the accountability can down the road, preferably out of sight.

Parnas’ lawyer, before the court, recently said that Parnas and Fruman were working on behalf of Trump via Giuliani. This revealed payment connects Trump to Russian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who was already awaiting extradition to the US on an unrelated indictment.

This six-page letter from Trump to Pelosi is an embarrassment on a range of levels, from factual to political to grammatical.

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