Virginia is threatening to shut down a company that touts its record of reuniting immigrant families, accusing it of running an unlicensed insurance business.
Friday, October 11th 2019, 8:44 AM EDT
Friday, October 11th 2019, 8:46 AM EDT
Nexus Services (FILE)
STAUNTON, Va. (AP) – Virginia is threatening to shut down a company that touts its record of reuniting immigrant families, accusing it of running an unlicensed insurance business.
The News Leader reports the state’s Bureau of Insurance wants a cease-and-desist order enforced against Nexus Services Inc., which would shut down the company’s Virginia transactions.
The company helps post bond through third-party licensed bondsmen with federally approved insurance companies for people in immigration detention centers. The Bureau claims Nexus is selling surety insurance in the form of immigration bonds.
CEO Mike Donovan tells the newspaper the regulators don’t understand the service his company provides.
A hearing will be held in March.
The Virginia Attorney General’s Office and other agencies have previously announced investigations of the company’s business practices.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump has spent his time in office trying to bend the conventions of the American presidency to his will. Now he appears to be trying to override a core principle of democracy: that no one is above the law.
Faced with an impeachment inquiry, Trump has openly defied the core constructs of the Constitution. He chafes at the idea of co-equal branches of government and rejects the House’s right to investigate him.
He has deployed a convoluted logic in which he has declared that the courts can’t investigate him because as president he cannot be charged with a crime but also that Congress cannot impeach him because its inquiry is politically illegitimate.
It’s a “heads he wins, tails you lose” formulation.
“It’s anathema to his character and his life story to be checked and balanced by anything,” said presidential historian Jon Meacham, a professor at Vanderbilt University. “The Constitution was formed to contain appetite. And we now have the president who is driven entirely by appetite.”
In a scathing eight-page letter this week, the Republican president’s lawyers served notice there will be no cooperation with the impeachment inquiry.
Trump’s White House has ignored document requests and subpoenas. It readily invokes executive privilege — going so far as to argue that the privilege extends to informal presidential advisers who never held White House jobs. And his team all but dares Democrats to hold them in contempt.
The impeachment standoff follows a pattern Trump has established throughout his presidency as he has jettisoned experienced advisers and flouted conventions.
After two weeks of a listless and unfocused response to the impeachment probe, the White House letter to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week was a declaration of war.
While it was filled with dubious legal arguments, its intent was clear: Trump would not play ball, claiming that the game was rigged against him.
As for all the subpoenas flying from House Democrats, an exasperated Trump said Thursday, “You’re running a country, I just don’t think that you can have all of these people testifying about every conversation you’ve had.”
And as for the Democrats, Trump claimed Wednesday they’re the ones playing dirty “because they have a tiny margin in the House.”
“They have eviscerated the rules,” he said. “They don’t give us any — any fair play. It’s the most unfair situation people have seen.”
The Constitution gives the House “the sole power of impeachment.” But it confers that authority without providing any guidelines, which the White House has seized upon in demanding that Pelosi call for a vote to authorize the inquiry as happened in the last two impeachment inquiries.
No vote is required, and Trump’s strategy risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment for obstructing their investigations.
“The president does not have all-consuming power,” said Nick Ackerman, a member of the Watergate prosecution team that investigated President Richard Nixon. “We play by certain rules, and we expect the rule of law to apply. We don’t have checks and balances if he ignores them. That itself is an impeachable defense, which is what Nixon faced.”
It is unclear whether Democrats would wade into a lengthy legal fight with the administration over documents and testimony or if they would just move straight to considering articles of impeachment.
Trump, for his part, has never been one to rely on legality or logic in making his arguments.
In the last week alone, he called for the impeachment of Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Adam Schiff — events that can’t occur — and in part justified his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Turkish attacks, by saying the Kurds did not assist at Normandy during World War II.
Since taking office, he has taken repeatedly taken unilateral action to defy Congress and push the limits of his own power, declaring a national emergency so he could divert funds for a border wall and taking executive action to try to halt immigration from several Muslim-majority nations.
Trump on Thursday punctuated a tweet about unfair media coverage with four words that seemed to sum up his entire viewpoint of the American system: “Oh well, I’m President!”
The Constitution was built to withstand tests like this.
“Both the strength of the American system and one of its most frustrating aspects is that it’s incredibly difficult to do anything quickly, particularly bad things, which the founders believed would happen more often than good things,” Meacham said. “Checks and balances were created so one bad actor could not dominate the proceedings. We now have that bad actor.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Jonathan Lemire has covered politics and the White House for The Associated Press since 2013.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey “needs to remember who he works for,” former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan said on Friday.
This reaction comes after President Trump ramped up his ongoing feud with Frey at a campaign rally on Thursday, calling him a “bad mayor” and attacking the city’s policy on refugee settlement.
The president vowed to give communities greater say in refugee policy and discussed reducing the refugee resettlement program. Minnesota, which is home to a large Somali immigrant population, also has the largest number of refugees per capita nationwide, with 13 percent of the country’s refugees, according to U.S. Census data.
Frey took to Twitter to hit back, writing that immigrants and refugees are welcome in his city.
In conjunction with the NFL’s 100th season celebration, 19 current and former reporters across the USA TODAY Sports Network were asked to compile a list ranking the 100 greatest players in pro football history.
The challenge was daunting, considering each person had to assess talent back to 1920. While there were no strict parameters, the process for making decisions focused on the field of play and considered elements such as induction to the Hall of Fame, statistics, awards, reputation and the eye test. Each voter was asked to rank 60 players. Those votes produced a list of 170 names. A points system was used for the rankings starting with 60 points for the top player on a list down to 1. Ties were broken by using the highest single vote a player received.
Our panel: Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY; Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press; Christine Brennan, USA TODAY; Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati Enquirer; Nate Davis, USA TODAY; Pete Dougherty Green Bay Press-Gazette; Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star; Gentry Estes, Nashville Tennessean; Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire; Martin Frank, Wilmington (Del.) News Journal; Mike Jones, USA TODAY; Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY; Joe Rexrode, formerly Nashville Tennessean; Steven Ruiz, For The Win; Kent Somers, Arizona Republic; Rachel Shuster, former USA TODAY; Art Stapleton, Bergen (N.J. Record); Andy Vasquez, Bergen (N.J.) Record; Larry Weisman, former USA TODAY.
We will be releasing the names 10 at a time. Nos. 41-50 will be released on Oct. 14.
Feel free to agree, disagree, argue or simply enjoy a trip through the years. Let us know on Twitter or Facebook
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (1982); 5-time First-team All-Pro (1966-1970); 3-time Second-team All-Pro (1965, 1973, 1974); NFL Rookie of the Year (1962); 14-time Pro Bowler (this is a career NFL record. Olsen is tied with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Bruce Matthews and Tony Gonzalez)
Achievements: Inducted into Pro Football HOF (2017); NFL Most Valuable Player (2006); NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2006); 3-time First-team All-pro (2004, 2006, 2007); 2-time Second-team All-pro (2002, 2003); five pro bowls
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (2011); Super Bowl champion; 3-time First-team All-Pro (1999-2001); 3-time Second-team All-Pro (1994, 1995, 1998); NFL MVP (2000); 3-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year (1999-2001); NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1994); 7-time Pro Bowler; one of only 3 NFL players to amass at least 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards; only player to accumulate 12,000 rushing and 6,000 receiving yards; only NFL RB with 100+ rushing and 30+ receiving TDs; holds NFL career record for most games with a rushing and receiving TD (15).
Teams: San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (2015); 8-time First-team All-Pro (1991-1996, 1998, 2000); 2-time Second-team All-Pro (1997, 1999); NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1992); NFL Man of the Year (1994); 12-time Pro Bowler
Achievements: Super Bowl XLV champion; 2009 Defensive Player of the Year; 3-time First-team All-Pro (1999, 2009, 2011); Four-time Second-team All-Pro (2000, 2008, 2010, 2015); nine pro bowls; NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
Achievements: Inducted into Pro Football HOF (1978); Super Bowl VI champion; AFL Champion (1963); AFL Player of the Year (1963); 6-time First-team All-Pro (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968); Second-team All-Pro (1969); seven pro bowls
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1977); 2-time Super Bowl champ; 2-time Super Bowl MVP; 5-time NFL champ; 4-time Pro Bowl; first-team All-Pro (1966); 3-time second-team All-Pro (1961, 1962, 1964); NFL MVP (1966); holds the NFL record for the highest postseason passer rating (104.8)
Achievements: 5-time First-team All-Pro (2012-2015, 2018); 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015); Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2017); 5-time Pro Bowler; Pro Bowl Defensive MVP (2014); Bert Bell Award (2014); first player with multiple 20-sack seasons (2012, 2014)
Achievements: 1st-team All-Pro (2008); 2-time 2nd-team All-pro (2009, 2011), 11-time Pro Bowler, Pro-Bowl MVP (2008); Holds NFL record for most seasons with 90+ receptions (8); Most TD receptions in a postseason (7 in 2008); Most receptions in a postseason (30 in 2008); Most receiving yards in a postseason (546 in 2008); Third all-time in career receptions (1,303); Second all-time in career receiving yards (16,279)
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (1988); 4-time Super Bowl champ; 6-time First-team All-Pro (1974-1979); 2-time Second-team All-Pro (1973, 1980); NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1975); 8-time Pro Bowler
Achievements: Five pro bowls; Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP; Inducted into Pro Football HOF (1985); first to pass for more than 4,000 yards in one season; had 27,663 passing yards and 173 TDs for career.
Achievements: Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1989; 4-time Super Bowl champion (1974, ‘75, ‘78, ‘79) ; 1978 AP MVP; Super Bowl MVP (1978, ‘79); 1978 Bert Bell Award winner; 1st-team All-Pro (1978); 3-time Pro Bowler
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2014); Super Bowl champ; 7 Pro Bowls; 4-time first-team All-Pro (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003); 2-time second-team All-Pro (2002, 2005); NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2001); holds the NFL record for most sacks in a season (22.5); 6th most career sacks in NFL history (141.5)
Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins.
Achievements: NFL Most Valuable Player (2012); NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2012); 4-time First-team All-Pro (2008, 2009, 2012, 2015); 3-time Second-team All-Pro (2007, 2010, 2013); seven pro bowls; NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2007). Eight on all-time rushing list coming into 2019 season.
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (2016); Super Bowl champ; 3-time First-team All-Pro (1999, 2002, 2006); 5-time Second-team All-Pro (2000, 2001, 2003-2005); 8-time Pro Bowl selection; Holds multiple NFL receiving records including most receptions in a single season (143), most consecutive seasons of 1,000+ all-purpose yards and 10+ TD receptions (8), first player to record two seasons of 1,600 yards receiving in NFL history, (1999 & 2002); also holds multiple records with Peyton Manning as a QB/WR pair.
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (2009); 3-time First-team All-Pro (1990-1992); 3-time Second-team All-Pro (1993, 1994, 1996); 9-time Pro Bowl selection; NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1989); holds the NFL record for sacks in a single game (7).
Achievements: Eight pro bowls (2004-08, 2010-11, 2013) and four-time All-Pro (2006, 2008, 2010-11). Twice had seven interceptions in a season. Started 142 regular-season games. NFL defensive player of the Year in 2010 (AP). Super Bowl champ.
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (1968. 2nd black player ever inducted); NFL champion; 4-time AAFC champion; Pro Bowl; 2-time First-team All-Pro (1948, 1950); averaged 5.6 YPC (a record that still stands for FBS).
Achievements: 4-time Super Bowl champ; 3-time First-team all-Pro (2002, 2004, 2014); 3-time Pro Bowl selection; Holds NFL records for most consecutive FGs made (44), most career FGs made (582) and most career points in NFL history (2,600); Only player to score 1,000+ points for 2 teams.
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (1997); Super Bowl champ; 2-time First-team All-Pro (1984, 1985); 6-time Second-team All-Pro (1976-1980, 1982); 9-time Pro Bowl selection; NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (1976).
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (1984); 3-time Super Bowl champ; 2-time First-team All-Pro (1971, 1973); AFL champion (1967); 3-time First-team All-AFL (1964, 1968, 1969); 4-time Pro Bowl selection; held the Super Bowl record for longest interception (75 yards) until James Harrison broke it.
Achievements: Inducted into the Pro Football HOF (1990); 4-time Super Bowl champ; Super Bowl MVP; First-team All-Pro (1977); 2-time Second-team All-Pro (1972, 1975); NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1972); 9-time Pro Bowl selection; rushed for 1,000 or more yards in 8 seasons
Achievements: Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2006; 3-time Super Bowl champion (1992, ‘93, ‘95); 1992 Super Bowl MVP; 1997 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year; 1st-team All-Pro (1993); 6-time Pro Bowl selection
Contributing: Tess DeMeyer, Lila Bromberg,, Thomas Hindle
Sources: Pro Football Hall of Fame, Pro Football Reference, USA TODAY research
The father of an 18-year-old Florida teen killed when his speeding Teslaslammed into a wall and caught fire is suing the company, saying the crash should have been “entirely survivable.”
Police say Barrett Riley and his 18-year-old friend Edgar Monserrat died when Riley lost control of his father’s car at 116 mph in May 2018. Another friend was thrown from the car and survived.
The South Florida SunSentinel reports that James B. Riley sued Wednesday in Santa Clara County, California, where Tesla is based. Monserrat’s parents filed a similar lawsuit in January. Both blame the car’s lithium-ion battery pack, which exploded when the Tesla hit a concrete wall.
A Tesla statement earlier this year said “no car could have withstood a high-speed crash of this kind.”
This photo released by the official news agency of the Iranian Oil Ministry, SHANA, shows Iranian oil tanker Sabiti traveling through the Red Sea on Friday. Iran says two missiles struck the tanker. SHANA/APhide caption
This photo released by the official news agency of the Iranian Oil Ministry, SHANA, shows Iranian oil tanker Sabiti traveling through the Red Sea on Friday. Iran says two missiles struck the tanker.
A pair of missiles hit an Iran-flagged oil tanker steaming off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea, causing an explosion and oil spill, Iranian officials said Friday.
Iran’s state-run IRNA identified the tanker as the Sabiti, and Iranian state television says the explosions damaged two storage tanks and caused an oil spill that is now reportedly under control.
The Iranian media reports did not assign responsibility for the incident.
“The oil tanker named SABITI belonging to the company sustained damages to the body when it was hit by missiles 60 miles from the Saudi port city of Jiddah,” IRNA said.
MarineTraffic, a ship-tracking website, says Sabiti was en route from Port Said, Egypt, to an unknown destination.
The incident is the latest in a series in recent months, most or all of which have occurred on the opposite side of the Arabian peninsula in waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attacks, but Tehran denies any involvement.
Saudi Arabia made no immediate comment on the reported attack.
Last month, a major Saudi oil processing plant and an adjacent oil field were hit in a missile-and-drone attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels but that Riyadh and the U.S. blamed on Tehran.
Iran, which has supported the Houthis’ fight against the Saudi-backed government in Sana’a, has denied any involvement in the attack.
Additionally, Nixon also achieved some really good shit when he was in office (creating the EPA, for example). If it weren’t for the evil and underhanded shit he did alongside it, the history books would look very favorably upon him. Trump hasn’t done fucking anything notable save for imprison children, break-up families, pass an unpopular tax cut for the wealthy, embolden white nationalists, fuck-over our Kurdish allies, get blatantly played by North Korea, and undermine global markets and fuck-over farmers and industry with moronic tariffs.
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on Thursday against two men who have aided President Trump’s efforts to gather damaging information in Ukraine about his political opponents, a criminal case that signaled growing legal exposure for the president’s allies as Mr. Trump tries to blunt an impeachment inquiry in Congress.
The indictment of the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, sketched a complex scheme to violate campaign finance laws and did not accuse Mr. Trump of wrongdoing. But it revealed new details about the push to pressure Ukraine: a campaign encouraged by Mr. Trump, led by his private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and assisted by obscure figures like Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman.
Mr. Trump continues to defend the effort, which is the focus of the impeachment inquiry that House Democrats opened last month. The new indictment, however, suggests the first criminal implications of the shadow foreign policy that Mr. Giuliani pushed on behalf of the president.
And it is another example of the extent to which the messy power dynamics of Ukraine — a former Soviet republic and close American ally with a recent history of political upheaval — now dominate discussions about Mr. Trump’s future. The impeachment inquiry began after a C.I.A. officer who has worked at the White House raised alarms about a July telephone call in which Mr. Trump seemed to suggest that American military aid was contingent on Ukraine’s help in unearthing information that could help Mr. Trump politically.
[Rudy Giuliani was a zero-tolerance mayor who cleaned up New York as he inflamed racial tensions. He was hailed as “America’s Mayor” after 9/11. Now, he’s at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry. Watch “The Weekly,” our new TV show, on FX Sunday at 10/9c.]
Mr. Giuliani has been public about his hunt for damaging information about Democrats, and the indictment gives a more complete picture about how he seems to have subcontracted part of the work to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, two of his longtime associates. Document:
It directly connected the two men to a key element of the pressure campaign, an effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, after she became a focus of criticism from many of Mr. Trump’s allies. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman donated money and pledged to raise additional funds in 2018 — some violating legal limits — for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust her, court papers showed.
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that the two men were charged with making illegal campaign donations, and law enforcement officials harshly criticized the scheme.
On Thursday, William F. Sweeney Jr., the top agent in the F.B.I.’s New York office, said during a news conference that “campaign finance laws exist for a reason.”
“The American people expect and deserve an election process that hasn’t been corrupted by the influence of foreign interests,” he said, “and the public has a right to know the true source of campaign contributions.”
“Laws make up the fabric of who we are as a nation,” Mr. Sweeney added. “These allegations aren’t about some technicality, a civil violation or an error on a form. This investigation is about corrupt behavior and deliberate lawbreaking.”
The lawmaker is named in the indictment only as “Congressman-1,” but campaign finance filings identify him as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas. Mr. Sessions, then the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, wrote a letter in 2018 to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that Ms. Yovanovitch should be fired for privately expressing “disdain” for the current administration.
Mr. Sessions, who lost his re-election bid last year, said in a statement that he could not confirm that he was “Congressman-1” but that he would “vigorously defend myself against any allegations of wrongdoing” and that he had no knowledge of the scheme detailed by prosecutors.
He said that he met the two men to discuss Ukraine’s bid for energy independence and that he wrote to Mr. Pompeo “separately, after several congressional colleagues reported to me that the current U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was disparaging President Trump to others as part of those official duties.”
Some Trump allies believed Ms. Yovanovitch was trying to impede their effort to dig up damaging information about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, a former Ukrainian official has said, and House Democrats are looking into whether her removal was linked to Mr. Trump’s attempts to gain politically helpful information.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s private lawyer, were charged with violating campaign finance laws on Thursday.CreditCreditJohannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman are witnesses in their impeachment inquiry, and Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to be questioned Thursday by investigators.
Ms. Yovanovitch was herself scheduled to appear Friday on Capitol Hill, but she remains an employee of the State Department and the Trump administration could try to block her testimony. If that happens, House Democrats have said that they are prepared to subpoena her.
Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested on Wednesday evening at Dulles International Airport as they held one-way tickets on a Lufthansa Airlines flight to Frankfurt. They were walking down a glass-framed jetway, boarding with first-class passengers after indulging in free drinks and food in the lounge, when two plainclothes officers stopped them, according to someone who witnessed the arrest.
After they produced their passports to one of the officers, according to the witness, they were instructed to turn around and walk back toward the terminal, where a phalanx of uniformed and plainclothes officers waited.
At a hearing on Thursday in federal court in Northern Virginia, prosecutors argued that the men were flight risks, and a judge set bail at $1 million each. Dressed in T-shirts, Mr. Fruman and Mr. Parnas were represented by two lawyers who defended Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman who was convicted last year in the same courthouse of financial crimes associated with his own work in Ukraine.
A lawyer for the men, John M. Dowd, who was not at the hearing, declined to comment. His clients were ordered to appear in court on Thursday in New York, where the charges were filed.
The work the two men did in Ukraine for Mr. Giuliani seems to have been a mixture of business and politics. Mr. Parnas advised Mr. Giuliani on energy deals in the region and pursued his own in Ukraine even as he portrayed himself as a representative of Mr. Giuliani on the Trump-related matters.
The indictment said Mr. Parnas acted “at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials.” None were named, but Ms. Yovanovitch’s main critic in the Ukrainian government was Yuriy Lutsenko, then the nation’s prosecutor general who himself has a history of wielding the law as a weapon in his personal political battles.
Both Mr. Fruman and Mr. Parnas appear to have at least glancing contacts with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump invited Mr. Fruman to a fund-raiser last year at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, he said in an interview with Forum Daily, a publication that bills itself as the “voice of Russian-speaking America.” The article featured a photograph of the two men, with the president giving a thumbs-up sign.
Mr. Parnas posted a photo on Twitter this spring of himself with the president and wished Mr. Trump a happy birthday. “I am honored to call you Mr. President!!!” he wrote. “And my friend!!”
The president sought to distance himself from the men as he left the White House on Thursday en route to a political rally in Minnesota.
“I don’t know those gentlemen,” Mr. Trump said. “Now it’s possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody. I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do. I don’t know, maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy.”
Mr. Giuliani said that no one from the Justice Department had contacted him about Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. “I have to presume they’re innocent,” he said. “None of those facts that I see there make any sense to me, so I don’t know what they mean.”
He said that he was aware they were leaving the country, but he dismissed the idea that they were fleeing and said they regularly traveled to Europe on business.
Based in South Florida, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman are executives of an energy company that donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC last year, which prompted a Federal Election Commission complaint by a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog accusing the men and the company of violating campaign finance laws.
Not long before the large donation, the men created a limited liability company called Global Energy Products, which they used to funnel large contributions, according to the indictment.
Last month, Mr. Giuliani sought to minimize the significance of the campaign finance inquiry into the two men and said it was resolved. And on Thursday, he questioned the timing of the indictment. “All I can tell you about this arrest is, it comes at a very suspicious time,” he said.
Prosecutors said Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, along with two other men indicted on Thursday, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, also funneled money to state and federal candidates in exchange for potential influence, according to court papers. The men wanted to set up recreational marijuana businesses in Nevada and other states, and were seeking political help to get access to the necessary licenses.
The plot was funded by someone identified only as “Foreign National-1” who had “Russian roots,” court papers showed.
The arrangement involved an attempt to seek licenses to sell legal marijuana in Nevada, but the defendants missed a deadline to apply for them — “two months too late to the game unless we change the rules,” Mr. Kukushkin told the unidentified foreign citizen, according to the indictment.
Mr. Correia was still at large but was expected to turn himself in, according to a law enforcement official.
Mr. Kukushkin appeared briefly in federal court in San Francisco, where the government argued that he was a flight risk who should not be granted bail, citing his connections to overseas wealth, his multiple properties in the Bay Area and his refusal to turn over his Ukrainian passport. He was to appear again on Friday in court to discuss bail.
His lawyer, Alan Dressler, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mark Mazzetti, Eileen Sullivan and Adam Goldman reported from Washington, and William K. Rashbaum from New York. Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Fandos, Katie Benner and Kenneth P. Vogel from Washington; Maggie Haberman from New York; Kate Conger from San Francisco; and Zach Montague from Alexandria, Va. Susan Beachy contributed research.
Democrats and the media for three years used a fog of facts and speculation to lull America into forgetting there was never a shred of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. They flooded the zone with another flurry of scattershot claims in their campaign against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Republicans might bear these tactics in mind as they confront the left’s new impeachment push.
In the two weeks since the White House released the transcript of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the debate has descended into the weeds of process and people. This is unsurprising given House Democrats’ decision to keep hidden the central doings of their impeachment inquiry, and the media’s need to fill a void.
The press has responded by seeking to weave dozens of obscure Ukrainian and U.S. names into a crazy quilt of corruption. Readers have no time to keep track of all the Vlads, envoys and meetings in Spain, and that’s the point. The goal is to cover the Trump administration in ugly.
Republicans for their part are miffed at the highly irregular manner in which all this is unfolding. So they’re highlighting the anonymous whistleblower, his motives and his methods. They’ve pointed out the whistleblower’s admission that his information was secondhand. They’re drilling into whether he was biased on behalf of a current Democratic presidential candidate. They are (correctly) pointing out that the whistleblower has no legal right to anonymity.