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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 157)

House Impeachment Investigators to Question Ukraine Envoy

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-impeach-facebookJumbo House Impeachment Investigators to Question Ukraine Envoy Yovanovitch, Marie L United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Giuliani, Rudolph W Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators on Friday planned to privately question the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, about her knowledge of a shadow campaign by President Trump and his private lawyer to push that country’s leaders to undertake investigations that could tarnish Democrats.

The Trump administration abruptly removed Ms. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat in her third posting as an ambassador, in May, months before she was scheduled to return from Ukraine. Allies of the president had concluded that she was not sufficiently loyal to Mr. Trump, and her recall from Kiev coincided with attempts by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and his associates to jump-start an investigation into Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son Hunter, as well as one into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled on behalf of Democrats in the 2016 election.

Those efforts, which extended into the State Department and the White House, where Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president in July phone call to commit to the investigations, is now at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Ms. Yovanovitch could be a key witness to Mr. Giuliani’s efforts on the ground and provide investigators with insights into how Ukraine’s leaders managed the overtures, though she has given few public hints about what, if anything, she knows. Her explanation of why Mr. Trump and his allies wanted her removed could also be crucial to House Democrats who are trying to bolster their contention that Mr. Trump abused his power in pressuring Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch’s expected appearance, which congressional officials said on Friday would go forward as scheduled, was itself remarkable, because she remains a Trump administration employee. The State Department blocked another high-level official from speaking with investigators on Tuesday, the same day the White House made an extraordinary declaration that it would defy the House’s every request for documents and witnesses going forward, putting a “full halt” to cooperation.

But Ms. Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of the State Department nearing the end of her public service, was to arrive Friday morning with a lawyer and enter the secure rooms of the House Intelligence Committee in the basement of the Capitol for questioning by congressional staff. Caught between the conflicting and equally forceful demands of two branches of government, she appears to have chosen Congress, raising the possibility that other government officials with little loyalty to Mr. Trump could follow suit.

Just a day earlier, Ms. Yovanovitch had been mentioned in an indictment of two businessmen who worked with Mr. Giuliani on his Ukraine scheme. In charging the men with federal campaign finance violations, prosecutors said they had donated funds and promised to raise more for a congressman who then lent his support to a campaign to oust her.

Three House committees conducting the investigation hope to tick through a roster of additional witness depositions next week, when lawmakers return to Washington from a two-week recess. Among them are Fiona Hill, who until this summer served as senior director for Europe at the National Security Council, is scheduled to appear Monday; George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state and Ukraine expert, on Tuesday; and Gordon D. Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union whose appearance was blocked on Tuesday.

Mr. Sondland has now agreed to comply with a House subpoena and testify next week, despite the State Department’s instruction that he not appear, his lawyer said Friday.

The White House or State Department could try to block those depositions, but like Ms. Yovanovitch and Mr. Sondland, each witness may make his or her own choice.

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2 Giuliani Associates Arrested With One-Way Tickets at U.S. Airport

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.

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Westlake Legal Group 10dc-inquire2-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 2 Giuliani Associates Arrested With One-Way Tickets at U.S. Airport Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Parnas, Lev Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor

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.

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At Minneapolis Rally, an Angry Trump Reserves Sharpest Attack for Biden

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-trump-facebookJumbo At Minneapolis Rally, an Angry Trump Reserves Sharpest Attack for Biden United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Minneapolis (Minn) impeachment House of Representatives Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

MINNEAPOLIS — A fired-up President Trump lashed out against Democrats at a combative campaign rally on Thursday night, deriding them as “very sick and deranged people” who were only investigating him for abuse of power in order to “erase your vote.”

Facing impeachment in the House, Mr. Trump took his case to his core supporters, arguing that Democrats were trying to overturn the 2016 election because they knew they could not beat him in 2020. He singled out former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as nothing but a toady for President Barack Obama.

“He was only a good vice president because he knew how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass,” Mr. Trump said, a line that drew huge roars of approval from the crowd.

In his first campaign rally since Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the formal beginning of an impeachment inquiry last month, Mr. Trump was as raw and rancorous as ever, targeting individual Democrats in highly personal terms that no presidents has used in public and presenting himself as a victim of a partisan conspiracy.

“From Day 1, the wretched Washington swamp has been trying to nullify the results of a truly great and democratic election,” Mr. Trump told a crowd of about 20,000 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, one of the most Democratic cities in the country. “They want to erase your vote like it never existed; they want to erase your voice, and they want to erase your future.”

He fired off insults in rapid succession at F.B.I. agents, lawmakers and journalists who he said were out to get him. “She’s either really stupid or she’s really lost it — or maybe there’s a certain dishonesty in there,” he said of Ms. Pelosi.

Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, who is one of his favorite targets, is an “America-hating socialist” who married her brother in order to come into the country, he said. (No proof has emerged substantiating the marriage claim.)

He went local in targeting the city’s Democratic mayor, Jacob Frey, who drew the president’s ire this week for seeking reimbursement for the cost of extra security required for the rally. “You got a rotten mayor,” Mr. Trump said. “You’ve got to change your mayor.”

But no Democrat came under as much fire as Mr. Biden, one of the leading Democrats bidding to challenge him next year. It was Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s president to come up with damaging information about Mr. Biden that prompted the House impeachment inquiry that now threatens his presidency.

Mr. Trump maintained he was interested only in uncovering supposed corruption by the former vice president and his younger son, Hunter Biden, who made $50,000 a month serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company at the same time his father was working on Ukraine policy for the Obama administration.

In scathing terms, Mr. Trump mocked Hunter Biden, who struggled for years with alcohol and drug abuse and was discharged from the Navy Reserve after failing a drug test. Calling him unqualified for the energy company post, Mr. Trump declared that Hunter Biden was “not too smart” and added, “Hunter, you’re a loser.”

He noted that Hunter Biden had been out of the public spotlight in the past couple of weeks as the president and his supporters have sought to make him a political liability for the former vice president.

“Whatever happened to Hunter?” Mr. Trump demanded. “Where the hell is he? Where’s Hunter?” Turning to a group of supporters, the president said, “Hey, fellas, I have an idea for a new T-shirt.” It should say, “Where’s Hunter?” he added.

Mr. Trump was proudly on offense all night, cheerfully using the word “hell” repeatedly while mocking those who say he should watch his language. “I’m energized,” he told the crowd.

At another point, he reveled in his ad hoc blasts at his enemies. “Isn’t it much better when I go off script?” he asked.

The rally, the first of three in the next week, came on a day of rapidly advancing developments in the impeachment inquiry and related matters.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry was subpoenaed on Thursday for records that could shed light on any role he may have played in Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two of associates of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, were indicted on campaign finance charges.

And Mr. Trump told reporters that the man just announced as his outside counsel, Trey Gowdy, could not start in that position until January because of “lobbying rules,” even as House Democrats hope to have an impeachment vote wrapped up by the holidays.

Despite the fast-moving inquiry unfolding in Washington, Mr. Trump showed that he, too, was barreling forward in his re-election campaign, using impeachment as fuel to energize his hard-core supporters while trying to expand the electoral map.

This time, his campaign is pouring resources into a state with the hopes of putting Democrats on defense and projecting confidence that they have more paths to re-election than simply recreating the winning map from 2016. Mr. Trump lost Minnesota by 1.5 percentage points to Hillary Clinton in 2016, despite having no campaign staff on the ground and barely setting foot in the state.

“We are going to win this state,” Mr. Trump said as he took the stage Thursday night. “This feels like the day before the election.”

The president’s decision to visit Ms. Omar’s backyard was also a show of confidence, challenging a local congresswoman in her home state.

“How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota?” he asked the crowd, calling her one of the “big reasons” that he would win re-election.

He bemoaned the fact that so many Somali refugees had been allowed to resettle in Minnesota and boasted that he had closed the door to many foreigners seeking protection in the United States. “I have reduced refugee resettlement by 85 percent,” he said.

Outside the Target Center, Trump protesters clashed with Trump supporters, their shouting and cursing escalating as the president took the stage. Many said the longtime Democratic state suddenly felt like a battleground, and strangers approached each other to pick fights.

“Tell me why you like him,” one man yelled at a nearby Trump supporter.

Criticized by another protester for the president’s white supremacist undertones, the Trump supporter replied, “I could have 100 black people with me if I wanted to.”

Cameron Russell, 26, of Minneapolis, a donor support technician who is black, voiced his skepticism: “Yo, man — pull them up. Call them up.”

Then Mr. Russell recognized the Trump supporter, who is white, as a high school classmate.

“I thought you were cool,” Mr. Russell said to him.

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Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt and Money

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-rudy-facebookJumbo Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt and Money Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev Naftogaz of Ukraine KIEV, Ukraine Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor America First Action

WASHINGTON — When Rudolph W. Giuliani set out to dredge up damaging information on President Trump’s rivals in Ukraine, he turned to a native of the former Soviet republic with whom he already had a lucrative business relationship.

Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman with a trail of debts and lawsuits, had known Mr. Giuliani casually for years through Republican political circles. Last year, their relationship deepened when a company he helped found retained Mr. Giuliani — associates of Mr. Parnas said he told them he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars — for what Mr. Giuliani said on Thursday was business and legal advice.

Even as he worked with Mr. Parnas’s company, Fraud Guarantee, Mr. Giuliani increasingly relied on Mr. Parnas to carry out Mr. Trump’s quest for evidence in Ukraine that would undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference on his behalf in the 2016 election and help him heading into his 2020 re-election campaign.

Mr. Giuliani dispatched Mr. Parnas and an associate, Igor Fruman, a Belarusian-American businessman, to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, where, despite fending off creditors at home, BuzzFeed reported, they ran up big charges at a strip club and the Hilton International hotel. Their mission was to find people and information that could be used to undermine the special counsel’s investigation, and also to damage former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a prospective Democratic challenger to Mr. Trump.

Over the past year, the two men connected Mr. Giuliani with Ukrainians who were willing to participate in efforts to push a largely unsubstantiated narrative about the Bidens. They played a key role in a campaign by pro-Trump forces to press for the removal of the United States ambassador to Ukraine on the grounds that she had not shown sufficient loyalty to the president as he pursued his agenda there.

They met regularly with Mr. Giuliani, often at the Trump International hotel in Washington. And all the while, they were pursuing their own business schemes and, according to an indictment unsealed on Thursday, illegally funneling campaign contributions in the United States in the service of both their political and business activities.

The indictment, along with interviews and other documents, show Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and their associates as somewhat hapless operators, scrambling recklessly to use their new connections to the highest levels of American politics to seek financial gain while guiding Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, into a Ukrainian political culture rife with self-dealing and ever-shifting alliances.

The indictment provided new details about the dealings of Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, as well as a pair of associates, including David Correia, who with Mr. Parnas helped found Fraud Guarantee, the fraud prevention and mitigation company that retained Mr. Giuliani. The four men were charged with campaign finance violations related to their efforts to enlist public officials in their moneymaking efforts and their political efforts in Ukraine.

The indictment does not name or identify Mr. Giuliani or Mr. Trump. But it helps show how Mr. Giuliani, who was retained by Mr. Trump as a personal lawyer to fend off one challenge to his presidency — the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — helped steer his client into another: dealings with Ukraine that are now at the heart of the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

The congressional committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry have subpoenaed Mr. Giuliani for records related to his efforts in Ukraine, including records related to Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and Semyon Kislin, another Ukrainian-born businessman.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had been asked to appear before House investigators this week, but declined to appear. And on Thursday, the congressional committees issued subpoenas demanding they produce documents by Wednesday, while signaling that the committees still expected the pair to testify to Congress.

The two men did get something useful for their Ukrainian efforts from Pete Sessions, then a Republican member of Congress from Texas, who is not identified in the indictment. It says that after making substantial campaign donations to him, Mr. Parnas asked Mr. Sessions for help last year in pressing the Trump administration to remove the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Mr. Sessions subsequently wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizing Ms. Yovanovitch and seeking to have her dismissed.

Mr. Parnas had told associates that she was not open to his proposals related to the lucrative gas business in Ukraine, where Mr. Parnas pitched a natural gas deal to the chief executive of Naftogaz, as The New York Times reported last month.

Ms. Yovanovitch had also come under fire from a Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, who was connected to Mr. Giuliani by Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman and played a key role in Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to promote investigations into Mr. Trump’s rivals.

While the indictment did not identify any officials by name, it said that Mr. Parnas, in his effort to oust Ms. Yovanovitch, acted, “at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials.”

Mr. Giuliani also said he provided legal advice to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman after their efforts in Ukraine brought them into conflict with a powerful oligarch, Ihor Kolomoisky.

Mr. Kolomoisky said in interviews in the Ukrainian news media that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman traveled to see him in Israel in April, ostensibly to talk about their plans to sell gas to Ukraine. But, he said, the two men then pushed him to arrange a meeting between Mr. Giuliani and Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani had been seeking to press Mr. Zelensky to agree to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election, and had been working with Mr. Parnas to lay the groundwork for the effort, as The Times first reported in May.

Upon returning to Ukraine, Mr. Kolomoisky threatened in May to expose Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. Mr. Giuliani, in turn, posted on Twitter that the oligarch had “defamed” Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, “and I have advised them to press charges.” He also warned Mr. Zelensky not to surround himself with allies of Mr. Kolomoisky.

Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and Mr. Giuliani were frequently spotted together over the past year at the Trump International hotel in Washington, and were overheard discussing politics and energy projects, including a methane initiative in Uzbekistan. Mr. Giuliani and his associates were to be paid at least $100,000 for the project, on which Mr. Parnas offered advice.

The project did not pan out, Mr. Giuliani said.

Mr. Parnas said in an interview last month that he and Mr. Fruman were self-financing their efforts on behalf of Mr. Giuliani’s political work in Ukraine and that those “have nothing to do with our business.”

He added, “My only business with Giuliani was a long time ago,” and involved an insurance company that Mr. Parnas suggested he owned that Mr. Giuliani “offered some advice on.”

In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Giuliani at first seemed to acknowledge having advised Fraud Guarantee in 2018, then backtracked.

“I can’t acknowledge it’s Fraud Guarantee, I don’t think,” he said.

“I can acknowledge I gave them substantial business advice,” he said, adding that one of his companies trains institutional customers in security work, including “how to investigate crimes, from murder to terrorism to fraud.” He said that “most of it is subdivisions of government, but every once in a while it is a private enterprise.”

Late last month, he seemed to minimize the campaign finance issues facing Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, saying in an interview, “I referred them to a campaign finance expert, who pretty much resolved it.”

On Thursday, Mr. Giuliani said he did not regret working with Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman in Ukraine. “I have to presume they’re innocent,” he said, adding: “There are a lot of motives going on trying to smear people, so I wouldn’t say that I regret it, no. Who else would I have turned to?”

In April 2018, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman incorporated a company called Global Energy Producers ostensibly as a vehicle to engage in the trade of liquefied natural gas — a commodity American officials have long urged Ukraine to buy from the United States.

In weeks, the company attracted notice in Republican finance circles with major donations to committees supporting Mr. Trump and his allies. It gave $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC; $50,000 to a political action committee affiliated with the Trump-endorsed candidate for Florida governor in 2018, Ron DeSantis, and $15,000 to a super PAC supporting the 2018 Senate campaign of the West Virginia attorney general, Patrick Morrisey.

The donation spree prompted legal filings by a former business partner of Mr. Parnas who was trying to collect more than $510,000 from Mr. Parnas from a 2016 federal judgment.

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Giuliani Pressed for Turkish Prisoner Swap in Oval Office Meeting

Westlake Legal Group merlin_128860991_515f45cd-79d9-4cb1-8039-df1c6a6e01e9-facebookJumbo Giuliani Pressed for Turkish Prisoner Swap in Oval Office Meeting Zarrab, Reza (1983- ) United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Turkey Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Tillerson, Rex W Sessions, Jefferson B III Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Nuclear Weapons Mukasey, Michael B Iran Giuliani, Rudolph W Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Embargoes and Sanctions Brafman, Benjamin Bharara, Preet Atilla, Mehmet Hakan

During a contentious Oval Office meeting with President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017, Rudolph W. Giuliani pressed for help in securing the release of a jailed client, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, as part of a potential prisoner swap with Turkey.

The request by Mr. Giuliani provoked an immediate objection from Mr. Tillerson, who argued that it would be highly inappropriate to interfere in an open criminal case, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

The gold trader, Reza Zarrab, had been accused by federal prosecutors of playing a central role in an effort by a state-owned Turkish bank to funnel more than $10 billion worth of gold and cash to Iran, in defiance of United States sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

But at the White House meeting in early 2017, Mr. Giuliani and his longtime friend and colleague, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, pushed back on Mr. Tillerson’s objections.

Rather than side with his secretary of state, Mr. Trump told them to work it out themselves, according to the two people briefed on the meeting. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

In the end, no such prisoner swap took place. But the episode has opened a new chapter in Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to interject himself into the Trump administration’s diplomacy while at times representing clients with a direct interest in the outcome.

The Oval Office meeting occurred before Mr. Giuliani became Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer for the special counsel’s Russia investigation. In recent weeks, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign to press Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of one of Mr. Trump’s political rivals, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has thrust him into the middle of the House impeachment inquiry. And on Wednesday, two of Mr. Giuliani’s associates in that campaign were arrested on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws.

Mr. Giuliani, in an interview on Thursday, defended his actions in the gold trader case, which were first reported on Wednesday by Bloomberg.

Mr. Giuliani, well known for his hawkish views on Iran, said he had been willing to represent Mr. Zarrab because the proposed prisoner swap would have secured the release of an American pastor who was being held in Turkey on terrorism-related charges the United States considered fabricated.

He likened his efforts — which also included apprising Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, of what he wanted — to maneuvers during the Cold War to trade enemy spies for Americans detained overseas.

Mr. Giuliani questioned how his actions were any different. “It happened to be a good trade,” he said. “I expected to be a hero like in a Tom Hanks movie.”

But his involvement, as a private citizen and friend of the president in the months after Mr. Trump passed him over for the role of secretary of state, left some in the administration uncomfortable, given the strained and complicated relationship between the United States and Turkey.

Mr. Giuliani’s moves also ran counter to a long-running American effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program as the United States was trying to punish players, like Mr. Zarrab, who helped the regime evade sanctions.

The case, called the single largest evasion of Iranian sanctions in United States history, revolved around a scheme by the Turkish bank in 2012 and 2013 to send billions of dollars in gold and cash to Iran in exchange for oil and natural gas.

Mr. Zarrab, who has Turkish and Iranian citizenship, was arrested in Florida in March 2016 on a family trip to Disney World, and was accused of an illicit operation that relied on false documents and front companies to move the assets to Iran from the accounts of Halkbank, the second-largest state-owned lender in Turkey.

Getting him out of the United States was a high priority for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, because Mr. Zarrab had information that would later implicate senior bank officials, as well as Turkish government officials, in the scheme.

Indeed, after the prison swap failed, Mr. Zarrab became a key witness and testified that in 2012, Mr. Erdogan, then Turkey’s prime minister, had ordered that two Turkish banks be allowed to participate in the sanction-evasion scheme.

Mr. Giuliani said that he was brought into the effort by Mr. Muskasey, who had been hired by Mr. Zarrab’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.

The two men had been pressing their case with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early 2017 when Mr. Tillerson joined the conversation, according to the two people briefed on the meeting. Mr. Tillerson, who could not be reached for comment, was surprised to find Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey at what he thought would be a regular private meeting with the president, the people said.

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Giuliani to tell Mr. Tillerson what he wanted, which prompted Mr. Tillerson’s objections.

Mr. Mukasey’s spokesman did not return a request for comment.

Mr. Giuliani, in the interview on Thursday, disputed the account provided to The New York Times of his discussion with Mr. Tillerson about Mr. Zarrab — and the assertion that Mr. Tillerson replied that such a step was inappropriate. But Mr. Giuliani did not specify what aspects of the account he found inaccurate, saying he could not discuss the meeting because of attorney-client privilege.

“This is a completely malicious story coming from the consistent attack on me to try to destroy my credibility,” Mr. Giuliani said.

He added that at the time, “nobody ever complained” to him from the Trump administration about his role in the case.

Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mukasey were persistent in the effort. Court filings show that they discussed the matter with State Department officials in Turkey before meeting with Mr. Erdogan himself, and that Mr. Sessions and Preet Bharara, then the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, were informed “on a confidential basis.”

Mr. Giuliani argued in court filings that “none of the transactions in which Mr. Zarrab is alleged to have participated involved weapons or nuclear technology, or any other contraband, but rather involved consumer goods, and that Turkey is situated in a part of the world strategically critical to the United States.”

And Mr. Mukasey, in an April 2017 court filing, asserted that “senior U.S. officials have remained receptive to pursuing the possibility of an agreement.”

But officials at the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan remained opposed to the Zarrab trade, as did Mr. Tillerson. Mr. Giuliani, in the Thursday interview, said he wasn’t sure why the proposal fell apart.

What’s clear is that Mr. Zarrab pleaded guilty in October 2017 to the charges, and became a key witness in federal criminal cases prosecuted in New York that led to the conviction of Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive at Halkbank.

During Mr. Atilla’s criminal trial in late 2017, the judge overseeing the case criticized Mr. Giuliani’s role in trying to secure Mr. Zarrab’s freedom, noting that such a move might benefit Iran.

“Most respectfully, the Giuliani and Mukasey affidavits appear surprisingly disingenuous in failing to mention the central role of Iran in the indictment, and indeed, failing to mention Iran at all in their affidavits,” the judge, Richard M. Berman, said, citing statements in which the men suggested Mr. Zarrab’s release might help the United States.

Mr. Atilla was sentenced to 32 months in prison. But he was released early from jail in July and then returned to Turkey, where he was greeted at the airport like a hero in Istanbul by Turkey’s treasury and finance minister, Berat Albayrak, who is also Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law. Mr. Zarrab’s whereabouts have not been disclosed by the United States government.

The American pastor, Andrew Brunson, was also released, without a trade involving Mr. Zarrab, in October 2018. The move was credited with an overall improvement in relations between Mr. Trump and Mr. Erdogan.

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What Happened Today in Trump Impeachment Inquiry News

ImageWestlake Legal Group 10dc-giuliani-articleLarge-v3 What Happened Today in Trump Impeachment Inquiry News Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment

Rudy Giuliani having coffee with Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in September.CreditAram Roston/Reuters

  • Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of Rudy Giuliani, were indicted on campaign finance charges. They were part of the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate President Trump’s political rivals, including Joe Biden.

  • Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York said Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman “conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and state office,” including by making donations to a pro-Trump super PAC. Read the indictment.

  • The indictment refers to a “Congressman-1” — identified in campaign finance filings as former Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas — who was the beneficiary of approximately $3 million that the super PAC spent during the 2018 cycle. The men sought Mr. Sessions’s assistance in removing the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, “at least in part at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials,” according to the indictment. (The men were also seeking political assistance setting up a legal marijuana business in Nevada.)

  • Shortly after the indictment became public, House impeachment investigators issued subpoenas to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman, compelling them to speak with Congress about their work with Mr. Giuliani in Ukraine.

  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry was subpoenaed for records that could shed light on any role he may have played in Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government. Investigators also want to know whether Mr. Perry tried to influence the management of Ukraine’s state-owned gas company.


Katie Benner, who covers the Justice Department for us, said federal prosecutors probably had the indictment ready to go for a while and were keeping tabs on Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman. When the two got one-way tickets out of the country, she said, the prosecutors realized that they had to move.

My colleague Mike Schmidt got an eyewitness account of the arrests in the Lufthansa lounge in the B concourse of Dulles International Airport on Wednesday. Here’s what he heard:

They were indulging themselves in the free drinks and food while talking on the phone and waiting for their overnight flight to Frankfurt. Around 5:45 p.m., the men and the other first class travelers were invited to board before all the other passengers. As they made their way down a corridor toward their plane, two plainclothes officers stepped out and stopped them.

“We need to see your passports,” one of the officers said.

The passengers took them out, and the officers determined who was standing in front of them. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were told to turn around. As they made their way back into the terminal, they were greeted by a phalanx of uniformed and plainclothes officers who arrested them.


At first glance, the two men might seem peripheral to the events that the House is investigating. But they were involved in the Ukraine affair from the beginning, dating to Mr. Parnas’s job as Mr. Giuliani’s fixer in Ukraine.

This evening I stopped by the desk of my colleague Ken Vogel, who revealed Mr. Parnas’s involvement in Mr. Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts, to get a sense of why they matter to the impeachment investigation.

Why are these two men so important to understanding the whole Ukraine scandal?

They were Rudy Giuliani’s enablers and facilitators in his Ukrainian expedition. They connected Mr. Giuliani to the Ukrainian prosecutors who provided both the information and the potential investigations that are at the center of President Trump’s interest in Ukraine. They were at the very front of all of this activity that led to what became the whistle-blower complaint.

Why did that activity raise alarm bells?

Their ability to get Congressman Sessions to take up their cause on such a niche issue that might not have been on his radar — helping to oust the American ambassador to Ukraine — is precisely the type of thing that campaign finance watchdogs warn of when they bemoan the power of money of politics.

How valuable can they be to federal prosecutors, who’ve clearly been investigating them long before the impeachment investigation?

It depends who the prosecutors are after. The two men could certainly flip and provide plenty of information about Rudy Giuliani. I have a source who saw Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and Mr. Giuliani together not infrequently at the Trump hotel here in Washington.

What about to Congress? They were supposed to be important witnesses in the impeachment investigation this week before they were arrested.

They could be very useful to Congress, but maybe not as much in the impeachment inquiry. They don’t have a ton of access or visibility into Trump himself, so it could be a bit of a bank shot. But in another way, they could be extremely useful. Congress has shown a great interest in the outsourcing of foreign policy, and these guys are right in the middle of that.


On Thursday evening, Mr. Trump will hold a campaign rally in Minneapolis, his first since the impeachment investigation began.

On Friday, House investigators are due to interview the career diplomat and former American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whose ouster was sought by Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and many in the Trump administration. Despite the White House’s attempts to block cooperation by State Department employees, Ms. Yovanovitch has signaled to House staff members that she is willing to speak to them.


  • The Wall Street Journal reported that career staff members at the Office of Management and Budget questioned whether it was legal to delay aid to Ukraine. The White House then gave a political appointee power to keep the aid on hold.

  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said today in Kiev that Mr. Trump did not seek to blackmail him over military aid when the two leaders spoke this summer. Mr. Trump and his supporters said Mr. Zelensky’s claim should exonerate the president.

  • George Conway, the husband of Mr. Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, joined 15 other conservative lawyers calling for an “expeditious” impeachment investigation.

  • Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said it was “absolutely not” appropriate for Mr. Trump to seek help from foreign powers for an election.

  • Mr. Trump tweeted this morning that Fox News’s pollsters “suck,” after a poll found 51 percent of voters believe that he should be impeached and removed from office; he added that “@FoxNews is also much different than it used to be in the good old days.” William Barr, the attorney general, met privately Wednesday evening with Rupert Murdoch, the mogul whose holdings include Fox News.

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House Impeachment Investigators Subpoena Rick Perry on Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-impeach-facebookJumbo House Impeachment Investigators Subpoena Rick Perry on Ukraine United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Parnas, Lev impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Federal Bureau of Investigation

WASHINGTON — House investigators pounded the Trump administration and its allies on Thursday with new subpoenas, aggressively challenging a White House pledge to starve their impeachment inquiry of evidence and witnesses with fresh demands for documents from Rick Perry, the energy secretary, and testimony from two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The subpoena to Mr. Perry instructed him to turn over by next Friday any records that would shed light on the role he appears to have played in President Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open corruption investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son. Investigators also want answers on whether Mr. Perry tried to influence the management of Ukraine’s state-owned gas company.

They demanded that Mr. Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, appear for a deposition next Wednesday and hand over records related to their work with Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, who is at the center of the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. That subpoena came just hours after the men were indicted on campaign finance charges that touched on their work in Ukraine.

The House investigation has set off a constitutional clash, as the White House has signaled that it will stonewall all requests for witnesses and documents. The latest subpoenas emerged as criticism of the president’s actions in the Ukraine matter continued to grow. Asked whether it was proper for the president to solicit foreign interference in the political process, H.R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, responded, “Of course it is not appropriate.”

Speaking at an event in Washington on Thursday, Mr. McMaster said it was up to Congress “to make a judgment as to whether or not that happened.”

It was unclear how the indictment unsealed on Thursday morning would influence the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to appear for a deposition on Capitol Hill on Thursday and Mr. Fruman on Friday. But even before their arrests, their lawyer, John M. Dowd, had indicated that they would not comply voluntarily.

The subpoenas issued by the House Intelligence Committee to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman makes no mention of the federal indictment. The F.B.I. arrested the two men as they were about to board an international flight late Wednesday, and on Thursday federal prosecutors charged them with funneling foreign money to government officials and campaigns in an effort to influence American policy, including toward Ukraine.

In a letter to Mr. Dowd, the three House chairmen wrote that as private citizens, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were “required by law to comply with the enclosed subpoenas.” It was signed by Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee; Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee; and Representative Eliot L. Engel, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry,” the chairmen wrote. “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 indictments could complicate congressional attempts to get them to testify, raising such issues as whether lawmakers will grant immunity to them that would ban the use of their testimony as criminal evidence.

Also, an assertion of Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination is a lawful basis to avoid answering questions despite a subpoena.

The New York Times reported in May that the two men helped connect Mr. Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors who provided him information related to the investigations he wanted into Mr. Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a debunked conspiracy about Ukrainian meddling to aid Democrats in the 2016 election.

The federal indictment in Manhattan made no mention of Mr. Giuliani, but stated that the men worked with one or more Ukrainian government officials to try to secure the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as the United States’ ambassador to the country.

Mr. Giuliani was seeking Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal, as well, and ultimately the White House called her back to Washington early, having deemed her insufficiently loyal to the president.

Other work by Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman also appeared to overlap with Mr. Perry’s interest in the Ukrainian gas company, Naftogaz.

House investigators are scheduled to hear from Ms. Yovanovitch on Friday in a private deposition, but as of midday Thursday, it remained unclear if the State Department would try to block her testimony. Democrats were prepared to issue a subpoena to increase pressure if needed.

The indictment may also significantly complicate Mr. Giuliani’s ability to serve as a face of the president’s defense. Senate Republicans allied with the president have said they might host a public hearing with Mr. Giuliani in an effort to showcase his accusations against the Bidens and undercut the House’s impeachment narrative. Now they may simply decide he is too toxic to expose to public questioning.

Charlie Savage and Peter Baker contributed reporting.

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Trump Lashes Out at Fox News Poll as Barr Meets With Murdoch

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-barr-facebookJumbo Trump Lashes Out at Fox News Poll as Barr Meets With Murdoch United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry News and News Media Murdoch, Rupert Fox News Channel Barr, William P

Recently, Fox News personalities have questioned the validity of efforts by House Democrats to impeach the president. They have also helped draw attention to the debunked theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to aid Democrats, a theory favored by Mr. Trump but which contradicts the findings of American intelligence communities and the Mueller report that Russia intervened in the election to help Republicans. And anchors such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have remained vocally supportive of the president.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump believes that the network has become more critical of him, and he has grown increasingly critical of Fox News, denouncing some anchors and reporters he does not consider to be friendly to him, such as Shepard Smith and even Ed Henry, with whom he held a recent interview. And while Mr. Trump talks frequently with Tucker Carlson, another Fox News host, Mr. Carlson has been critical of Mr. Trump’s July call with the president of Ukraine, which prompted the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Carlson said in a column for The Daily Caller website that there was “no way” to spin what took place on that call as a positive for Mr. Trump.

On Thursday morning, Mr. Trump lashed out at Fox News over a poll it commissioned on attitudes toward the impeachment inquiry.

The poll showed that 51 percent of people surveyed believe that Mr. Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Another 4 percent said he should be impeached but not removed, and 40 percent said they are against impeaching Mr. Trump.

“From the day I announced I was running for President, I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter. “But @FoxNews is also much different than it used to be in the good old days.”

In another tweet, he added, “@FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be. Oh well, I’m President!”

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China Trade Talks Restart as White House Explores Escalation Options

Westlake Legal Group merlin_159733326_365ee0f3-4455-4e35-ac0d-5d771ddbe5bc-facebookJumbo China Trade Talks Restart as White House Explores Escalation Options United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Pillsbury, Michael (1945- ) Kudlow, Lawrence A International Trade and World Market Embargoes and Sanctions Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

WASHINGTON — American and Chinese officials met for the 13th round of trade negotiations on Thursday amid growing expectations of a limited deal that could ease tensions and address some of President Trump’s concerns about China’s economic practices.

“We had a very, very good negotiation with China,” Mr. Trump said on Thursday afternoon, adding that the two sides would continue discussions on Friday. “It’s going very well.”

But administration officials are separately weighing options that could inflict additional economic pain on Beijing as the United States continues looking for ways to force China to change longstanding rules that have put American companies at a disadvantage.

The ideas under consideration would move the White House’s negotiating tool of choice beyond tariffs toward limiting China’s access to American capital markets and imposing greater scrutiny on its companies, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Administration officials, including members of the National Security Council, have begun pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission to increase scrutiny of Chinese firms. They are also looking for ways to reduce the exposure of American retirement funds to certain Chinese companies.

Many of the efforts have been proceeding independently from the trade talks and are fueled by longer-term considerations of China’s economic and security threats. Some White House advisers now view the escalation options as an additional lever to force China to make the kinds of deep economic concessions that have so far proved elusive in the talks, which have dragged on for more than a year.

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiator, greeted the Chinese vice premier, Liu He, on the steps of the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The meetings stretched into the afternoon, and at one point a black S.U.V. was seen delivering large brown bags from Clyde’s, a Washington restaurant, for a working lunch.

“Big day of negotiations with China,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. “They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House.”

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce official briefed by both negotiating teams said that the United States and China could announce a limited trade agreement this week that would prevent Mr. Trump’s planned tariff increase from going into effect this month and set rules around how China manages its currency.

Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president and head of international affairs at the Chamber of Commerce, said that a more comprehensive pact could still be announced but that the scope of the deal would depend on what Chinese negotiators offered. The Trump administration could also contemplate removing the threat of additional tariffs that are scheduled to be imposed in December or roll back some of the tariffs it has already levied on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods based on what the Chinese negotiating team offers, he said.

There have been some recent signs of accommodation between the two countries in recent weeks. China has resumed purchases of American agricultural goods. And in what is likely to be viewed as a gesture of good will by the Chinese, the Trump administration plans to approve licenses soon that will allow some companies to sell nonsensitive goods to the Chinese telecom provider Huawei, which has been blacklisted from buying American products.

But China has resisted many of the administration’s demands to make more transformative changes to the way it runs its economy. Chinese officials appear unlikely to agree to the administration’s longstanding demands that Beijing limit its subsidies to Chinese firms, change its policies surrounding the treatment of data or make other structural changes, people familiar with the negotiations said.

The potential for such a limited agreement has fueled private deliberations within the White House on options for escalating economic pressure on China.

Officials have held meetings in recent weeks to consider options if the current round of negotiations fails to address the administration’s primary concerns. Mr. Trump’s top economic advisers have publicly played down the discussions, which have centered on tightening scrutiny of Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges and limiting the direct exposure of government-run retirement funds to China.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, acknowledged on Tuesday that the administration was looking for ways to protect Americans who were investing in Chinese companies.

“We’ve opened up a study group to take a look at it,” Mr. Kudlow said on the Fox Business Network.

But the options under consideration go further than that. According to a memo circulated within the White House and reviewed by The New York Times, the administration is studying a menu of actions that, if carried out, would most likely rattle the Chinese government.

The memo was drafted by Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute and an outside adviser to the White House. It proposes holding Chinese companies and their employees criminally liable for financial disclosure violations, broadening the criteria that could get prominent Chinese companies blacklisted in the United States and blocking public and private pension funds and university endowments from certain Chinese investments.

Other options go beyond financial scrutiny of Chinese companies. The memo describes the possibility of fostering deeper ties between the United States and Taiwan and disrupting the flow of capital between Hong Kong and mainland China if it is determined that Hong Kong’s autonomy is not being respected.

It also lays out legislation in Congress, which Mr. Trump has yet to endorse, that would impose sanctions on China for activity in contested areas of the South China Sea and crack down on Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes at American universities.

Mr. Pillsbury declined to comment on his conversations with the White House but acknowledged that he had been analyzing such possibilities for a coming study on China strategy for the Hudson Institute.

“It appears that tariffs alone are not enough, but we also need to meet some of the Chinese demands to get the kind of deal the president wants,” Mr. Pillsbury said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Trump’s tariffs have already pushed some companies to move their operations out of China. But the raft of new investment restrictions and export controls that the administration is mulling would further sever supply chains and discourage financial integration between the countries, potentially to the detriment of financial markets.

On Monday, the White House clamped down on Chinese firms it accused of human rights violations by adding eight companies and 20 government organizations to an entity list that will prevent them from buying American products. On Tuesday, the State Department announced visa restrictions for Chinese officials allegedly involved in the detention and abuse of Muslim minorities.

An array of initiatives related to American capital markets and investments made by retirement funds in Chinese entities are also under consideration.

The most advanced discussions have centered on the Thrift Savings Plan, the retirement plan for federal employees and the military. As of next year, that plan, which holds nearly $50 billion in assets, is expected to begin investing in an index fund that includes more Chinese and Russian companies, as part of an effort to diversify its exposure.

The index fund includes companies that the United States government has imposed sanctions on — including Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, which was among the companies blacklisted on Monday. It also includes AviChina Industry & Technology, an affiliate of China’s major military aircraft and weapons manufacturer; ZTE, which was hit with sanctions for providing technology to North Korea and Iran; and several Russian companies that the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has put under sanctions.

Officials have also been discussing efforts to close loopholes that give Chinese companies access to American capital markets with less stringent disclosure requirements than American firms or those from other countries.

Chinese law requires the records of companies based in China to be kept there, and restricts the kind of documentation that auditors can transfer out of the country. The rules mean that hundreds of Chinese firms, with a collective market capitalization of more than $1 trillion, have received looser oversight than companies in other jurisdictions, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation that would force Chinese companies to comply with S.E.C. disclosure regulations or be delisted from American exchanges in three years. White House officials have debated throwing their support behind the bill, but several officials, including Mr. Kudlow and Mr. Mnuchin, have opposed delisting as a draconian option that could throw American stock markets into turmoil.

“Delisting is not on the table,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters on Monday. He said the administration was responding to complaints to the commission about a lack of transparency and compliance, “but we’re very early in our deliberations.”

Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that addressing the lack of compliance among Chinese companies was “overdue” but that a solution would ideally be negotiated between Chinese companies and the S.E.C.

“Nobody benefits from a mass delisting of Chinese companies on U.S. stock exchanges,” Ms. Economy said.

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House Impeachment Investigators Subpoena Energy Secretary on Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group 10dc-impeach-facebookJumbo House Impeachment Investigators Subpoena Energy Secretary on Ukraine United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Parnas, Lev impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Federal Bureau of Investigation

WASHINGTON — House investigators pounded the Trump administration and its allies on Thursday with new subpoenas, aggressively challenging a White House pledge to starve their impeachment inquiry of evidence and witnesses with fresh demands for documents from Rick Perry, the energy secretary, and testimony from two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The subpoena to Mr. Perry instructed him to turn over by next Friday any records that would shed light on the role he appears to have played in President Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open corruption investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son. Investigators also want answers on whether Mr. Perry tried to influence the management of Ukraine’s state-owned gas company.

They demanded that Mr. Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, appear for a deposition next Wednesday and hand over records related to their work with Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, who is at the center of the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. That subpoena came just hours after the men were indicted on campaign finance charges that touched on their work in Ukraine.

The House investigation has set off a constitutional clash, as the White House has signaled that it will stonewall all requests for witnesses and documents. The latest subpoenas emerged as criticism of the president’s actions in the Ukraine matter continued to grow. Asked whether it was proper for the president to solicit foreign interference in the political process, H.R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, responded, “Of course it is not appropriate.”

Speaking at an event in Washington on Thursday, Mr. McMaster said it was up to Congress “to make a judgment as to whether or not that happened.”

It was unclear how the indictment unsealed on Thursday morning would influence the impeachment inquiry. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to appear for a deposition on Capitol Hill on Thursday and Mr. Fruman on Friday. But even before their arrests, their lawyer, John M. Dowd, had indicated that they would not comply voluntarily.

The subpoenas issued by the House Intelligence Committee to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman makes no mention of the federal indictment. The F.B.I. arrested the two men as they were about to board an international flight late Wednesday, and on Thursday federal prosecutors charged them with funneling foreign money to government officials and campaigns in an effort to influence American policy, including toward Ukraine.

In a letter to Mr. Dowd, the three House chairmen wrote that as private citizens, Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were “required by law to comply with the enclosed subpoenas.” It was signed by Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee; Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee; and Representative Eliot L. Engel, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry,” the chairmen wrote. “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 indictments could complicate congressional attempts to get them to testify, raising such issues as whether lawmakers will grant immunity to them that would ban the use of their testimony as criminal evidence.

Also, an assertion of Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination is a lawful basis to avoid answering questions despite a subpoena.

The New York Times reported in May that the two men helped connect Mr. Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors who provided him information related to the investigations he wanted into Mr. Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a debunked conspiracy about Ukrainian meddling to aid Democrats in the 2016 election.

The federal indictment in Manhattan made no mention of Mr. Giuliani, but stated that the men worked with one or more Ukrainian government officials to try to secure the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as the United States’ ambassador to the country.

Mr. Giuliani was seeking Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal, as well, and ultimately the White House called her back to Washington early, having deemed her insufficiently loyal to the president.

Other work by Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman also appeared to overlap with Mr. Perry’s interest in the Ukrainian gas company, Naftogaz.

House investigators are scheduled to hear from Ms. Yovanovitch on Friday in a private deposition, but as of midday Thursday, it remained unclear if the State Department would try to block her testimony. Democrats were prepared to issue a subpoena to increase pressure if needed.

The indictment may also significantly complicate Mr. Giuliani’s ability to serve as a face of the president’s defense. Senate Republicans allied with the president have said they might host a public hearing with Mr. Giuliani in an effort to showcase his accusations against the Bidens and undercut the House’s impeachment narrative. Now they may simply decide he is too toxic to expose to public questioning.

Charlie Savage and Peter Baker contributed reporting.

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