When the Feds first arrested Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, my gut told me that the Trump regime was behind the arrests, as a way of trying to insulate Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal by scapegoating Rudy Giuliani and his henchmen. But I like my gut feelings to be supported by evidence, and when no evidence emerged to support to notion that Trump was behind the arrests, I set that notion aside. However, this past week has seen a huge shift in the Trump-Parnas narrative.
Lev Parnas went on cable news last week and revealed that after Lev was arrested, Donald Trump initially sent his own lawyers to represent Lev. Then at some point Lev concluded that these lawyers were trying to keep him quiet by making sure he didn’t get out on bail, and he fired them. Then over the weekend Lev’s current attorney tweeted an email in which Trump’s lawyers discussed what to do about Lev and Igor in relation to the impeachment process. This email was dated the day before Lev and Igor were arrested.
It’s long been widely reported that the Feds at the SDNY notified Attorney General Bill Barr about the arrest of Lev and Igor shortly before it happened. Now there’s evidence suggesting that the day before they were arrested, Trump’s lawyers expected to imminently have Lev and Igor under its thumb. Then after the arrest happened, Trump sent those same lawyers to apparently try to make sure Lev and Igor remained silent.
This all takes me back to the original question I posed on the day of the arrests: were Bill Barr and the Trump regime behind the arrests of Lev and Igor, as a way of trying to scapegoat Lev and Igor and Rudy Giuliani? If this was part of some scheme, it’s turned out to be a dumb one, as Rudy managed to fend off Trump by publicly bragging about having “insurance” against him, Trump still got impeached, and now Lev is giving evidence and interviews to anyone who will listen. So did Trump and Barr simply make a stupid gamble by having Lev and Igor arrested? Or were their arrests legitimate in nature, and beyond the Trump regime’s control? It’ll all come out in the end.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report