When news first broke that the two Giuliani-linked Soviet-born businessmen who were indicted on charges of interfering in U.S. elections had given $50,000 to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign last year, a spokesperson for DeSantis claimed that the governor barely knew who the men were. Now, thanks to the Tampa Bay Times, video and photos of DeSantis enthusiastically hugging the two men at his victory party have been released.
Since then, DeSantis finally acknowledged that he indeed had a relationship with Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, who have become major figures in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s presidency.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
…the pictures show Parnas wearing a badge stating “official guest” and the two standing next to DeSantis’ teacher from his Dunedin grade school days, a fixture at Tampa Bay area campaign events. Ferré later said “donors were likely invited” by his campaign to the party.
After the images came out, DeSantis admitted that he knew Parnas but he “didn’t know the other guy as much.”
It’s still not known why the contribution, which took place one day before President Trump endorsed DeSantis, was given, but prosecutors contend that the pair’s contributions were in exchange for political favors. DeSantis has since ordered his political committee to return the $50,000 donation.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Parnas and Fruman may have sought a foothold into Florida’s lucrative medical marijuana market. As of Friday, DeSantis had not called for an investigation. A lawyer for the men didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In many respects, Parnas and Fruman reflect the pool of people DeSantis turned to when he declared his candidacy as a relatively unknown congressman and Trump ally. Running for governor without the support of Florida’s GOP’s establishment, DeSantis leaned on Trump’s network of financiers, some with backgrounds that likely would have raised red flags in other campaigns.
Read the Tampa Bay Times’ full report here.
Impeachment managers release trial memorandum detailing why Trump must be removed from office
House impeachment managers released an in-depth trial memorandum laying out the case for convicting President Donald Trump during his Senate impeachment trial.
The memorandum was released by representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Jason Crow (D-CO) and Sylvia Garcia (D-FL).
The document divides the argument by the House of Representatives into three points.
"The Senate should convict President Trump of abuse of power," is the first section.
"The Senate should convict President Trump of obstruction of Congress," is the second section.
He ‘can’t understand why he is being impeached’: CNN reports Trump is asking ’why are they doing this to me?’
President Donald Trump is reportedly "distracted" by impeachment while vacationing at Mar-a-Lago as the United States Senate trial begins.
"A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly said the President has appeared 'distracted' by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he 'can't understand why he is impeached,'" CNN's Jim Acosta reported Saturday. "'Why are they doing this to me,' the source quoted Trump as saying repeatedly."
Rod Rosenstein’s legal defense in lawsuits from Strzok and Page won’t hold up under oath: legal experts
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed responsibility for the release of text messages between then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and then-FBI official Peter Strzok.
Emails released in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) revealed the highly unusual release by Sarah Isgur Flores, who at the time was the spokesperson for Trump's Department of Justice (she is now overseeing CNN's 2020 election coverage).
Flores instructed reporters to not cite the release of the documents to the Depart of Justice.