Tuesday, December 1, 2020

For the Record: Call Me Sherlock Holmes

Photo by Miami Herald.

If you don't know about the remarkable case emerging under so much redaction you can't be sure at all what it is, it starts out like this:


Unregistered lobbyists allegedly tried to coax senior White House officials while pushing a “Bribery-for-pardon” scheme involving a “substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence,” a federal judge revealed in a heavily redacted order released on Tuesday.

The bombshell investigation became public during a fight over attorney-client privilege that secretly has been underway in federal court in Washington, D.C. since at least Aug. 25 this year, when prosecutors sought permission a judge’s permission to override attorney-client privileged communications because of the crime-fraud exception.

“In the course of the ongoing review by the government’s filter team of the ‘over fifty digital media devices, including iPhones, iPads, laptops, thumb drives, and computer and external hard drives, totaling several terabytes of data)’ seized […] email communications have been identified ‘indicat[ing] additional criminal activity,'” Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who leads the federal jurisdiction inside the nation’s capital, summarized in a 15-page opinion and order detailing a “secret lobbying scheme” where undisclosed individuals allegedly acted as undisclosed lobbyists to senior White House officials. (Adam Klasfeld/Law & Crime)

And, for what it's worth, Emptywheel thinks Trump got paid for it already, based on I'm not exactly sure what, but it has to do with the fact that he had a three-hour meeting with attorney general Barr today and the presumption that they couldn't have spent all that time with Barr explaining to Trump why there wasn't any election fraud (Trump wasn't convinced):

But the way it's being handled certainly suggests that kind of level of seriousness. She also notes (indisputably) that the characters in question have very short names, too short to be, e.g., "Rudy Giuliani", just to name one person who certainly might appreciate a presidential pardon around now.

I happened to remember a couple of things that nobody else seems to have remembered; I can't say I know the story, but I want to lay down what occurred to me while it's fresh, because it's pretty cool.

I know a convict whose last name ends in s!

Specifically, they were "translators" for Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova (the very same Fox lawyer who showed up today asking for former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs to be "taken out at dawn and shot" for his insistence on obeying the law and certifying the legitimacy of the 2012 election) in their representation of Dmytro Firtash, the Ukrainian oligarch-criminal recruited by Giuliani to come up with some fake evidence against ambassador Yovanonvitch and poor sap Hunter Biden in return for some improvement in his legal situation vis-à-vis the United States. The big crime Lev and Igor were indicted for was transmitting an illegal foreign contribution of $325,000 to Trump's America First PAC in early 2018,

on behalf of “at least one foreign official — a Ukrainian government official who sought the dismissal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.”

and then during his two weeks in jail in October 2018, before he made bail, he had some slightly suspicious conversations with former Trump lawyer John Dowd, or so he later said:

Lev Parnas claimed in a new interview Thursday that he was visited in jail by a former attorney for President Trump who told him to cooperate and sacrifice himself for the president. 

John Dowd, who once served as an attorney for Trump, briefly served as Parnas's attorney after he was indicted in October for campaign finance violations.  

That's all I've got, actually, and I can tell you that Twitter is not showing any passionate interest in my discovery, but just remember if it turns out Lev and Igor are our boys, I'm the detective who worked it out first.

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