A Florida businessman pleaded guilty Thursday to helping ex-associates of Rudy Giuliani lie to U.S. officials about a $325,000 donation to a pro-Donald Trump super PAC.
The conviction of the businessman, David Correia, with others still facing trial, tells us one sure thing: The scandals that led to Trump's impeachment last year are set to reverberate well past Tuesday. This will be true regardless of whether Trump or Joe Biden wins the election.
As Trump's personal attorney, Giuliani partnered with defendants Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Both Parnas and Fruman, who originally are from Eastern Europe, face criminal counts filed by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office. But neither will be tried until at least February 2021. Both have broken their once-close alliance with Giuliani.
The prosecutions concern alleged financial crimes and connect to Giuliani's ever-evolving dirt dig on the Bidens. Parnas served as a translator for a legal case involving Dmytro Firtash, one of Ukraine's wealthiest oligarchs who is fighting U.S. extradition for unrelated bribery charges.
Firtash has fed Giuliani information regarding the Kyiv gas company where Biden's son Hunter once held an executive post.
A review by a GOP-controlled Senate this year found no crimes by the Bidens. But we likely can expect Giuliani and Republicans in Congress to push ahead in search of information damaging to the Bidens — especially if the former vice president wins the presidency.
The former mayor promises, as he has for months, to prove horrific crimes by the Bidens. Partisan-charged probes tend to take a long time. Solid evidence — of anything Giuliani declaims about — could redeem his reputation and justify his having meddled in State Department matters with Trump's blessing to sully Democrats.
The chapter about Trump's fondness for the Turkish government also isn't complete.
On Thursday, new information emerged about the dismissal of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Richard Berman and a criminal case he handled involving Halkbank, a state-owned Turkish financial institution. The case involved alleged violation of U.S. sanctions laws and the funneling of billions of dollars in gold and cash to Iran.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed Trump to kill that investigation. According to published reports last year, Trump referred the requests to Attorney General William Barr and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. According to The New York Times, Barr prescribed a settlement with the bank that Berman resisted. Berman was removed from his post over the summer.
According to former national security adviser John Bolton, this fits Trump's way of operating. "He would interfere in the regular government process to do something for a foreign leader," Bolton told The New York Times. "In anticipation of what? In anticipation of another favor from that person down the road."
Regardless of whether he is reelected, Trump will retain wide-ranging power to grant pardons of criminals at will, at least through Jan. 20. Some could go to past campaign associates convicted in the Russia scandals earlier in Trump's term.