We had it all backwards about Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen

In the months since we first learned that Rudy Giuliani was running around Ukraine trying to promote fake scandals about the Bidens, we’ve all been asking the same question. How could someone as mentally and cognitively challenged as Giuliani be the mastermind behind a scheme like this? Sure, it was stupid, idiotic scheme that was guaranteed to fail. But still, putting together even something this dumb would have required a bit of organized thought, and Rudy’s TV appearances have made clear that he can barely remember where he’s at or who he is.

Even when Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were first arrested in the Ukraine scandal, observers on all sides – including us – initially presumed that they were Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen. After all, these were just two nobodies, while Rudy was, well, Rudy. Sure, he’s devolved into some weird sad mix of mostly senile and completely hallucinatory. But he’s still the former Mayor of New York, the current lawyer for the President of the United States, and so on. This had to be his scheme, and these two stooges had to have been working for him. Except, no.

After the arrests, Rudy Giuliani admitted that he took a half million dollars from a company run by Lev Parnas. It’s separately been reported that Parnas works for Kremlin oligarch Dmitry Firtash. There’s a reason you follow the money in these kinds of scandals: it dictates who’s working for whom. If Parnas is a henchman working for Firtash, that makes Rudy a bottom-rung henchman working for Firtash’s henchman Parnas.

Why does this matter? Rudy Giuliani is going down either way. But it’s important for everyone involved to keep in mind that this whole thing wasn’t just some braindead scheme that Rudy randomly drew up on the back of a napkin and then sold Donald Trump on. This was a scheme being run and funded by a Kremlin oligarch. Rudy was just a pawn, or a go-between for the Kremlins oligarch and Trump. This Ukraine scandal isn’t just echoing the Trump-Russia 2016 election scandal; it appears to be a continuation of the Trump-Russia scandal.

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