The Washington Post - 24.10.2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

A8 EZ SU T H E  W A S H I N G T O N  P O S T.T H U R S D A Y , O C T O B E R  2 4,  2 0 1 9


new york — Two indicted asso-
ciates of Rudolph W. Giuliani
pleaded not guilty Wednesday to
charges they violated campaign
finance law and conspired to use
foreign money to buy political
influence, as one of their lawyers
suggested President Trump could
try to invoke executive privilege
over some of the evidence in the
Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas —
two Soviet emigres who hired
Trump’s personal lawyer and
then helped him investigate
Democratic presidential candi-
date Joe Biden — made a brief
appearance in federal court in a
case that also has led federal
investigators to scrutinize Giu-
liani’s interactions with the pair.
At the hearing, Parnas’s lawyer,
Edward MacMahon, raised con-
cerns to U.S. District Judge J. Paul
Oetken that some of the evidence
gathered in the case may be pro-
tected by attorney-client privilege
or even executive privilege.
“There are issues that we need
to be sensitive to,” said MacMa-
Giuliani has said that Parnas
and Fruman assisted him in his
investigative work on the presi-
dent’s behalf, and that Parnas and
Fruman previously had hired him
to do work for them. Giuliani, a
former mayor of New York City,
has urged the Ukrainian govern-
ment to investigate the former
vice president and sought evi-
dence to buttress an unfounded
accusation that Ukraine inter-

fered in the 2016 U.S. election.
MacMahon questioned at the
hearing if some of the evidence
involving his client should be
shielded from investigators as
attorney-client discussions.
It’s less clear how executive
privilege — which typically covers
conversations between a presi-
dent and government employee
advisers — could play a role in the
case. Parnas and Fruman did not
work for the government, nor did
Executive privilege can be in-
voked only by the president, and
MacMahon acknowledged that
he was uncertain of how that
issue might apply to this case, and
if it did, whether it would apply to
just his client or Fruman, as well.

“The added issue of executive
privilege... makes it very compli-
cated,” said MacMahon. “I don’t
know how to resolve this.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Re-
bekah Donaleski said her office
was “attuned to those concerns”
and said a “filter team” already
had been established to review
evidence in the case.
That team of prosecutors will
ensure that sensitive information
is not exposed, she said, adding
that “we’re happy to have a con-
versation” to discuss the issue
Prosecutors and agents use fil-
ter teams to analyze material in
case some of it needs to be with-
held from the investigators han-
dling the case. Filter teams often

are used on cases that involve the
conduct of lawyers.
The judge told both sides to
discuss the privilege questions
before the next hearing on the
case Dec. 2.
Donaleski said the evidence
gathered in the case included the
results of a dozen search warrants
covering electronic devices, so-
cial media accounts and 50 bank
After the hearing, Parnas spoke
briefly on the courthouse steps.
“Many false things have been
said about me and my family in
the press and media recently. I
look forward to defending myself
vigorously in court, and I’m cer-
tain that in time the truth will be
revealed, and I will be vindicat-

ed,” he said. “In the end, I put my
faith in God.”
Another attorney representing
Parnas, Joseph Bondy, criticized
the Justice Department for what
he called “a smear campaign run
by misleading and self-serving
leaks apparently from the highest
levels of government.”
Fruman and Parnas were
charged in an indictment this
month with conspiracy and mak-
ing false statements to the Feder-
al Election Commission about po-
litical donations.
Two of their co-defendants, Da-
vid Correia and Andrey Kukush-
kin, pleaded not guilty last week
in Manhattan federal court.
The arrests mark the first crim-
inal charges to emerge from the

U.S. government’s suddenly con-
troversial relationship with
Ukraine — a complex web of
financial and political interac-
tions linking diplomacy to al-
leged violations of campaign fi-
nance law.
The indictment does not allege
wrongdoing by the president,
Giuliani or the Trump campaign,
but the charges of political dona-
tions made for the secret benefit
of foreign interests add to the
growing legal and political pres-
sure on Trump and his lawyer as
they try to fend off Democrats’
impeachment efforts.
Giuliani’s dealings with the
two men are being scrutinized as
part of the investigation, accord-
ing to people familiar with the
A grand jury subpoena has
been issued to former congress-
man Pete Sessions, a Texas Re-
publican, who interacted with
Giuliani, Parnas and Fruman.
Parnas and Fruman are accused
of violating campaign finance
laws by making donations to Ses-
sions’s campaign that exceeded
federal limits.
The indictment charges that in
2018, Parnas met with the
then-congressman, seeking his
“assistance in causing the U.S.
government to remove or recall
the then-U.S. Ambassador to
Ukraine,” and that those efforts
were conducted “at least in part,
at the request of one or more
Ukrainian government officials.”
Sessions and Giuliani have de-
nied wrongdoing.

Giuliani associates Parnas, Fruman plead not guilty in campaign finance case

Lev Parnas, in left photo, and Igor Fruman, at right, helped Rudolph W. Giuliani investigate presidential candidate Joe Biden, according
to Giuliani. At Wednesday’s hearing, Parnas’s lawyer suggested that some evidence in the case may be protected by executive privilege.


Before the top U.S. diplomat to
Ukraine became the most explo-
sive witness in the House’s im-
peachment inquiry, he was any-
thing but a household name in the
United States. But in Ukraine,
William B. Taylor Jr.’s reputation
preceded him.
He had spent much of the 1990s
telling Ukrainian politicians that
nothing was more critical to their
long-term prosperity than rooting
out corruption and bolstering the
rule of law, in his role as the head
of U.S. development assistance for
post-Soviet countries.
But in the summer of 2019, he
and his colleagues were sending a
very different message to
Instead of encouraging govern-
ment officials to follow the letter
of the law, U.S. diplomats were
pressuring Ukraine to open inves-
tigations that could benefit Presi-
dent Trump politically in the 2020
election, Taylor told House inves-
tigators Tuesday.
“It was the antithesis of a big
part of his career. And my guess is
that really bothered him,” said
Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambas-
sador to Ukraine who has known
Taylor for 25 years.
That experience of policy whip-
lash is what many of Taylor’s cur-
rent and former colleagues said
led to his transformation from a

typically low-key diplomat to the
man who delivered an unsparing
critique of the Trump administra-
tion’s Ukraine policy.
The texts, emails and phone
conversations Taylor recalled to
lawmakers have provided the
most detailed account to date of
an alleged quid pro quo between
Trump and the Ukrainian govern-
ment and exposed contradictions
in the testimonies of other U.S.
officials who have denied know-
ing that the president was push-
ing Ukraine to investigate his po-
litical rival Joe Biden.
After Taylor’s testimony, the
White House derided the “radical
unelected bureaucrats” taking
part in a “coordinated smear cam-
paign” against the president, in-
vective that probably will make
Taylor’s job more difficult as for-
eign officials question his stand-
ing within the administration.
The top diplomat to Ukraine re-
turned to his job in Kyiv on
Wednesday, said a person familiar
with his movements, who like oth-
ers spoke on the condition of ano-
nymity as Taylor continues in his
In a tweet Wednesday, Trump
called Taylor a “Never Trumper”
and expressed frustration that he
was hired in the first place. “It
would be really great if the people
within the Trump Administra-
tion, all well-meaning and good
(I hope!), could stop hiring Never
Trumpers, who are worse than the
Do Nothing Democrats. Nothing
good will ever come from them!”
Trump said.
The State Department has not
issued a statement in defense of
Taylor and did not respond to a
request for comment about
whether Secretary of State Mike

Pompeo would keep him in that
job despite the president’s criti-
cisms. Taylor was hired for a six-
month assignment and has about
two months left.
For the half-dozen current and
former colleagues of Taylor’s who
spoke to The Washington Post, the
diplomat’s explosive testimony
stood in stark contrast to his un-
derstated professional demeanor.
His former colleagues were par-
ticularly amused by the White
House’s attempt to categorize him
as a “radical.”
“There’s nothing exciting about
Bill,” said George Ingram, a for-
mer senior official for the U.S.
Agency for International Devel-
opment who worked with Taylor
in Moscow in the late 1990s. “That
speaks to the type of person he is.
He’s a straightforward, by-the-
book, stand-up guy who is going
to follow the rules and regula-
Taylor had retired from the For-
eign Service but accepted his cur-
rent job in Kyiv four months ago at
the request of Pompeo following
the unceremonious ouster of the
former U.S. ambassador, Marie
In his testimony, Taylor said his
wife urged him in “no uncertain
terms” to turn down the job, but
he accepted it anyway after con-
sulting one of his mentors.
“If your country asks you to do
something, you do it — if you can
be effective,” the person said, ac-
cording to Taylor’s 15-page open-
ing statement.
In previous administrations,
Washington has linked U.S. aid to
Ukraine’s pursuit of anti-corrup-
tion efforts. But in the scenario
methodically laid out by Taylor,
almost $400 million in security

aid was withheld to encourage the
Ukrainian president to appear on
CNN to announce an investiga-
tion into Biden’s son, who served
on the board of a Ukrainian en-
ergy firm.
“In an instant, I realized that
one of the key pillars of our strong
support for Ukraine was threat-
ened,” Taylor told lawmakers, re-
flecting on the moment in a July
conference call when a White
House official said a hold was
being put on security assistance to
The efforts by diplomats work-
ing at Trump’s direction were
“running contrary to the goals of
long-standing U.S. policy,” he tes-
Pifer said the attempted ar-
rangement must have exasperat-
ed Taylor. “He had been telling the
Ukrainians dating back to the
1990s about what they had to do
to build a modern, robust econo-
my, and a big part of that was
fighting corruption,” Pifer said.

John Herbst, another former
U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who
has known Taylor for years, said
Taylor’s opening statement prob-
ably was strategic. “His testimony
knocked my socks off because of
the detail,” he said. “I can only
surmise that he included so much
because he wanted to make sure
the policy stayed in the right di-
Taylor, a svelte 72-year-old, be-
gan developing his expertise in
Ukraine in 1992 when he served as
the coordinator for U.S. assistance
to Eastern Europe and the former
Soviet Union. In 2006 he was
appointed by President George W.
Bush to be ambassador to
Ukraine, a country he described
in his testimony as “important to
the security of the United States.”
Taylor’s penchant for staying
active but below the radar even
translated to his love of tennis.
While serving as ambassador dur-
ing the Bush administration, he
played a private match against

Viktor Yanukovych, the former
Ukrainian president ousted in the
2014 revolution. Taylor won, ac-
cording to two people familiar
with the competition, but he told
close friends not to tell anyone so
as not to embarrass the Ukrainian
A former colleague said the in-
cident perfectly captured his es-
sence: This was “so Bill,” she said.
Until this week, Taylor wasn’t
known for taking a scorched-
earth approach to bureaucratic
politics, but he wasn’t a passive
bystander either.
When he worked as the coordi-
nator for aid to the Soviet space in
the 1990s, Taylor’s colleagues said
he was masterful at figuring out
ways to keep programs going after
they had been targeted for budget
Chris Crowley, who went to
Ukraine in 1999 as head of the
USAID mission for the former
Soviet states, said Taylor would
listen to their defense of the pro-
gram and make the case it should
continue. When possible, Crowley
said, Taylor looked for other plac-
es to make cuts.
“He had widespread respect,
not only among the USAID people
with whom he worked but within
the State Department,” Crowley
said. “He was always there, always
thoughtful and reasonable in
terms of issues and support.”
Though former co-workers de-
scribed Taylor as unflappable and
competent, few recalled what he
typically did in his free time.
“I don’t want to say he’s a work-
aholic,” said a former senior For-
eign Service officer at USAID. “But
he’s a very hard worker. He was at
his desk at 6 a.m. and worked till it
shut down. In his down time, he
was usually on his cell talking to
people who could make change
happen in the world.”

For envoy, policy whiplash


House Democrats say testimo-
ny provided Tuesday by William
B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. am-
bassador to Ukraine, could prove
devastating to President Trump,
showing he had his E.U. ambassa-
dor attempt to extort Ukraine
using taxpayer money.
The testimony could pose a
more immediate problem for that
diplomat: Gordon Sondland. And
his lawyer on Wednesday said his
client either does not recall or
disputes many of Taylor’s key ac-
Sworn testimony provided by
Sondland, a hotelier and Trump
fundraiser, and Taylor, a decorat-
ed veteran and career diplomat,
now diverges on key points. Most
critically, Taylor’s testimony chal-
lenges Sondland’s claim that
he did not know of an alleged
quid pro quo involving nearly
$400 million in security aid for
Ukraine. The White House held
up the planned aid over the sum-
mer as Trump’s personal attorney
Rudolph W. Giuliani worked with
Sondland to press the former
Soviet-bloc country to launch in-
vestigations that could help
Trump politically.

One of the probes Giuliani
wanted involved a discredited
theory that Ukraine tried to un-
dermine Trump in the 2016 U.S.
election. The other was about Bu-
risma, a Ukrainian energy compa-
ny that hired Hunter Biden when
his father was vice president.
Sondland testified last week
that he knew Giuliani had condi-
tioned a coveted White House
invite for Ukraine’s new presi-
dent, Volodymyr Zelensky, on
such investigations. But he said
he did not know whether the
White House had also made secu-
rity assistance contingent on Zel-
ensky’s committing to launch the
Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat
in Ukraine, contradicted Sond-
land’s account Tuesday. In pre-
pared remarks delivered to con-
gressional investigators, Taylor
wrote that Sondland not only
knew of such a quid pro quo, but
also had communicated the
threat to Ukraine.
Taylor said he understood that
on Sept. 1, Sondland warned Zel-
ensky aide Andrey Yermak that
the security assistance “would not
come” unless Zelensky commit-
ted to pursuing the investigation
into Burisma, which could have

damaged Joe Biden, a top 2020
Democratic presidential hopeful.
“I was alarmed,” Taylor wrote,
saying a national security official
had told him the demand was
relayed in person by Sondland
while the ambassador was travel-
ing in Poland with Vice President
Pence. “This was the first time I
had heard that the security assis-
tance... was conditioned on the
Responding to questions by
email, Sondland’s attorney Rob-
ert Luskin wrote to The Washing-
ton Post on Wednesday that his
client “does not recall” such a
“Sondland does not recall any
conversation in Warsaw concern-
ing the aid cutoff, although he
understood that the Ukrainians
were, by then, certainly aware of
the cutoff and raised the issue
directly with Pence,” Luskin
Some members of the House
Intelligence Committee have be-
gun calling for Sondland to return
for additional questioning to rec-
oncile the two diplomats’ ac-
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) said
Taylor’s testimony raises “a lot of
questions.” In an interview on

CNN, he said “for sure... [Sond-
land] needs to come back and
answer some of these questions.”
That Sondland did not know
about an alleged quid pro quo
involving taxpayer money is cen-
tral to his contention that he did
nothing wrong on Trump’s behalf.
Sondland ratcheted up pres-
sure on the White House last
week by testifying that when he
heard that security assistance
may be tied to the investigations,
he paused and called Trump on
Sept. 9.
After the call, Sondland sent a
text message to Taylor, denying
such an effort. “The President has
been crystal clear no quid pro
quo’s of any kind,” Sondland
wrote. “The President is trying to
evaluate whether Ukraine is truly
going to adopt the transparency
and reforms that President Zel-
ensky promised.”
Sondland, however, told con-
gressional investigators that his
denial came directly from Trump
and that Sondland had no knowl-
edge of whether the president was
telling him the truth at the time.
But by Taylor’s account, Sond-
land already knew the terms of
the quid pro quo and had relayed
them to Zelensky’s aide a week

earlier in Poland. Taylor said
Sondland also suggested he had
said as much in a conversation on
Sept. 8 to Zelensky.
“Ambassador Sondland said
that he had talked to President
Zelenskyy and Mr. Yermak and
told them that, although this was
not a quid pro quo, if President
Zelenskyy did not ‘clear things up’
in public, we would be at a ‘stale-
mate,’ ” according to Taylor’s writ-
ten testimony, which used an al-
ternative spelling of the Ukraini-
an leader’s name. “I understood a
‘stalemate’ to mean that Ukraine
would not receive the much-need-
ed military assistance.”
Luskin said his client “strongly
opposed the cutoff of aid and
believed (and advised internally)
that it should be restored uncon-
ditionally.” The attorney said that
in seven hours of closed-door tes-
timony last week, Sondland was
asked about his discussions in
Warsaw but did not recall a meet-
ing as recounted by Taylor.
Sondland and Taylor also con-
flicted on other points.
Taylor testified that it was clear
earlier in the summer that Giu-
liani’s focus on Burisma was relat-
ed to Biden. Sondland told House
investigators last week that he
recalls “no discussions” with any-
one at the State Department or
White House about investigating

Taylor also testified that Tim
Morrison, a National Security
Council official, had recounted to
him a conversation between
Trump and Sondland on Sept. 7 in
which Trump insisted that Zel-
ensky “go to a microphone” and
commit to “opening investiga-
tions of Biden and 2016 election
Luskin said Sondland does not
recall such a conversation. In his
testimony to Congress, Sondland
“was asked about all of his inter-
actions with Trump on this sub-
ject matter. These did not include
another call on the 7th.”
Luskin said Sondland was also
asked about a June episode that
Taylor recounted.
According to the Ukraine en-
voy’s statement, “Sondland told
me on June 28 that he did not
wish to include most of the regu-
lar interagency participants in a
call planned with President Zel-
enskyy.... Sondland said that he
wanted to make sure that no one
was transcribing or monitoring as
they added President Zelenskyy
to the call.”
Sondland’s attorney said the
call with Zelensky was routine.
The ambassador “believes that it
was monitored routinely and that
an appropriate file memo was
prepared. He never suggested

Sondland ‘does not recall’ warning Ukraine on aid

William B. Taylor Jr., acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, departs
after his testimony in the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday.

Taylor saw his longtime
anti-corruption message
to Ukraine abruptly end
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