Tutti Frutti O Rudy

Jonathan Chait, Trump’s Watergate Burglars, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Just Got Arrested:

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were carrying out President Trump’s scheme to pressure Ukraine to investigate his domestic rivals. This morning, the two men were arrested on campaign-finance charges as they attempted to leave the country.…

The Wall Street Journal reports Fruman and Parnas had lunch with Giuliani yesterday, before their arrest at the airport with one-way tickets to leave the country. This might be taken as more reason to suspect that the men charged with carrying out Trump’s foreign policy in Ukraine had a less than innocent state of mind. CNN reports that the FBI and federal prosecutors are examining Giuliani’s financial dealings with his two clients, but did not say he is a target of the investigation.

Trump told reporters this afternoon he does not know Fruman and Parnas, despite having met and been photographed with them. He also expressed his hope that Giuliani is not indicted. Neither comment indicates enormous confidence in the innocence of the three figures.

The arrest of Parnas and Fruman is more evidence that Trump’s Ukraine scandal left a wide swath of evidence. Trump had to sideline legitimate diplomats, including the unfortunate Yovanovitch, and empower a bunch of lowlifes in order to turn U.S. diplomacy in the country into a low-rent extortion plot. It certainly doesn’t help him that a couple of his rather seedy accomplices are now under arrest.

What the Hell is Bill Bar Up To?

Ever since his appointment, it has seemed to me that Bill Barr is probably engaged in some Byzantine plot. Or plots. Something about Barr as Trump’s loyal lackey and Kool-Aid addict just does not add up.

Down at the progressive table here at Happy Acres, some of my brethren and sistern have asked incredulously whether I think Barr is “secretly a good person.” No, ladies and germs, Bill Barr is most assuredly not a good person. But there are different ways of being a bad person. There’s a straightforward way and a devious way.

Call me crazy, but I still think Barr’s mission, or maybe one of his missions, is to get Trump out of office with a Spiro Agnew-style deal for immunity from prosecution. It’s the best explanation that fits all the known facts, and I know of no evidence tending to falsify my hypothesis.

In the meantime, there is an impeachment to defend.

Rudy Giuliani has played a key role in getting Trump into his current mess. A defense strategy that involves throwing Giuliani under the bus is highly risky. But from the viewpoint of a Trump defender, a rational bad man, and a skilled lawyer, I could well see that throwing Giuliani under the bus would look like the least bad defense option.

‘Cause an indicted Giuliani might look less believable when he spills the dirt on Trump. And an indicted Giuliani might know that he can’t spill a lot of dirt on Trump without providing yet more evidence of his own criminal conduct.

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Good morning—or afternoon, or evening, as the case may be—to today’s readers, who come from Australia, Canada, France, India, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. I hope all of y’all are finding this entertaining.