Washington—Today, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent a letter conveying subpoenas to two business associates of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, for key documents by October 16, 2019 that they have refused to produce as part of the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
“Your clients are private citizens who are not employees of the Executive Branch. 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 Chairmen wrote.
The Committees are investigating the extent to which President Trump jeopardized national security by pressing Ukraine to interfere with our 2020 election and by withholding a White House meeting with the President of Ukraine and military assistance provided by Congress to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression, as well as any efforts to cover up these matters.
“In addition to providing the subpoenaed documents, the Committees also expect your clients to appear to testify about these matters at a later date,” the Chairmen wrote.
Parnas and Fruman are “clients of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani” who reportedly were “assisting Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, as well as Giuliani’s claim that Democrats conspired with Ukrainians in the 2016 campaign.”
Throughout this period, Parnas and Fruman also reportedly “touted connections to Giuliani and Trump.” For example, they “boasted that they had worked with Mr. Giuliani to force the recall this spring of the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.”
They reportedly “told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington.” When Mr. Giuliani was asked about whether he was involved with this effort to recall the Ambassador to Ukraine, he responded, “I did play a role in that.”
In addition, press reports indicate that Parnas and Fruman were involved with efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company, Naftogaz, to benefit individuals involved with Giuliani’s push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in the 2020 election.
The proposal to install new board members at Naftogaz reportedly was championed by “two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.”
Refusal to Cooperate with Impeachment Inquiry
On September 30, 2019, the Committees sent letters to Parnas and Fruman requesting that they produce documents relating to the Committees’ inquiry by October 7, 2019, and appear for depositions on October 10, 2019, for Parnas and October 11, 2019, for Fruman.
On October 3, 2019, counsel for Parnas and Fruman sent a letter requesting additional time to respond and confirming that “Messrs. Parnas and Fruman assisted Mr. Giuliani in connection with his representation of President Trump.”
On October 8, 2019, counsel for Parnas and Fruman sent a second letter stating that they would not appear for the depositions.
On October 9, 2019, counsel for Parnas and Fruman sent an email informing Committee counsel that they “agree with and adopt the position of the White House Counsel” and attached a copy of a letter that the White House Counsel sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Committees stating that President Trump will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.
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