Last week the surreal news surfaced that Reza Zarrab, a former Trump Tower resident who was rotting in prison while awaiting trial for serious crimes, had vanished without explanation. Zarrab had infamously been informally represented by Rudy Giuliani, in a manner which got Giuliani into trouble with the trial judge. Now suddenly Giuliani has turned up in Ukraine and was spotted with a key figure in Donald Trump’s Russia scandal. Confused? Let’s try to sort out what this means.
Reza Zarrab was awaiting trial for a variety of crimes that were not directly connected to the Trump-Russia scandal. However, he was seen as a key potential witness against former Trump adviser Michael Flynn. As of last week, no one in the U.S. government was willing to explain why Zarrab was no longer in prison, or where he had gone to. This led to speculation that Zarrab may have indeed cut a deal to testify against Flynn, and that he was released accordingly. In such case, Zarrab would likely also have cut a deal against Rudy Giuliani.
The most surreal aspect of the Reza Zarrab trial is that former Trump campaign adviser Giuliani had been acting as an informal legal adviser to Zarrab. More accurately, Giuliani had been trying to sabotage the entire trial. Once he got caught, he ended up losing out on a job in the Trump administration because of it. Since that time, Giuliani has decided to lay low – until now.
Major Ukrainian news site NV is reporting that Rudy Giuliani has turned up in Ukraine (link). It’s published a photo of Giuliani and Gennedy Kernes, a close ally of Victor Yanukovych, the Russian puppet who was previously the president of Ukraine. Yanukovych’s campaign was run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is currently under house arrest for crimes relating to the Yanukovych campaign. Something is clearly afoot here – we just don’t know what – and it probably relates back to Reza Zarrab’s recent disappearance.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report