On Monday, A. B. Stoddard — a conservative editor at RealClearPolitics who appears frequently on Fox News and CNN — zoomed in on one of the key witnesses Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn't want to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial: Lev Parnas, the associate of Rudy Giuliani indicted for campaign finance violations.
"If Mitch McConnell and President Trump have their way, the trial is likely to lack witnesses and conclude expeditiously, as Senate Republicans are eager to avoid testimony, on the (reasonable) assumption that the facts are so well established that testimony can only hurt the president," wrote Stoddard for The Bulwark. "One of the reasons for this rush may be a desire to be done with impeachment before any more news connects Russian money to President Trump. We now know Rudy Giuliani's indicted ex-business partner Lev Parnas — who paid Rudy $500,000 to do Trump's Ukraine election meddling — had a Russian funding stream."
"The real reason for getting the impeachment trial done fast is defensive: Republican[s] want to dispense with their Constitutional responsibility before the public realizes there is a second Russia-focused federal criminal investigation underway and that Trump, once again, is at the center of it," wrote Stoddard. "And the more Giuliani — who is also being investigated, along with Parnas and others, by the FBI as well as the Southern District of New York for his work as Trump's 'attorney,' flies around the world ranting about what he and Trump are up to and shows up at the White House (as he did last Friday), the more incentive Republicans have to get the trial over with."
"The ironic part is that Trump and Giuliani don't seem to understand their own best interests quite as clearly as their Senate enablers do," wrote Stoddard, noting that the two of them are openly boasting about how much dirt they are getting from Ukraine. "This must drive McConnell and his colleagues slightly meshuggah. Because while Trump and Giuliani are having fun with their out-in-the-open election interference, sooner or later people are going to start wondering whether or not this work is also being indirectly financed by the Russians. And worse: Trump's actions strengthen the argument that if he is not removed from office, he will continue to abuse his power. Which is, in turn, an argument for passing, then holding, the articles of impeachment in the House."
But that is not the only damaging thing Parnas could reveal, wrote Stoddard.
"The pro-Trump PAC America First Action is also cooperating with the investigation SDNY. Parnas and Fruman donated $325,000 to the PAC in 2018 through their company Global Energy Producers, which has been described by prosecutors as a money laundering entity from which political donations flowed to federal and state campaigns," continued Stoddard. Additionally, there is extensive evidence he coordinated with former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA). "And those are only the loose ends we know about."
"As Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly warned: With Trump, all roads lead to Russia. McConnell, Graham, and Barr — all Republicans, really — know this," concluded Stoddard. "Yet instead of exposing it, they seek to cover it up."
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