(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
We’ve entered the fourth quarter and the Democrats are down seven, having failed to capitalize off their public impeachment hearings and seeing support slipping. It’s desperation time and Adam Schiff, always the sucker when it comes to misinformation, is throwing his Hail Mary.
The background on this is that a man named Lev Parnas is currently under federal indictment by the SDNY for a variety of crimes, none of which actually relate to Donald Trump. Naturally, that means the guy facing decades behind bars is going to now claim he’s got damaging information on Trump and other Republicans. It’s the Michael Cohen strategy and it’s apparently catnip for House Democrats.
Parnas’ first shot in the dark was a farcical claim peddled to CNN that Devin Nunes secretly traveled abroad to Ukraine in order to get dirt on Joe Biden.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 23, 2019
We are now three days past that report and not a single piece of corroborating evidence to support it has emerged. All indications are that the SDNY didn’t buy his nonsense, which is why Parnas wanted to talk to Congress instead.
Surprise, per ABC News, Adam Schiff obliged.
The House Intelligence Committee is in possession of audio and video recordings and photographs provided to the committee by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly played a key role in assisting him in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
The material submitted to the committee includes audio, video and photos that include Giuliani and Trump. It was unclear what the content depicts and the committees only began accessing the material last week.
“We have subpoenaed Mr. Parnas and Mr. [Igor] Fruman for their records. We would like them to fully comply with those subpoenas,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN Sunday, with a committee spokesperson adding they would not elaborate beyond the chairman’s comments.
I like the touch of subpoenaing a man who has already pledged to work with the committee voluntarily. Heck, Parnas has been practically begging for their attention. But Schiff wants to make it appear like he’s resisting investigative efforts in order to bolster the idea that something is being hidden. Schiff is nothing if not a cunning partisan.
The key part of this is that Parnas claims he once asked a Ukrainian oligarch named Dmitry Firtash to help dig up dirt on Biden. In exchange, he promised to somehow influence the DOJ to drop some criminal charges. That should be the first clue that this is a desperate con man searching for a way out. There is a 0% chance that Parnas had any actual influence in the DOJ. The conspiracy theory here is that Trump, through Giuliani, was somehow doing this deal with Parnas as the frontman. But if Trump had any real pull with investigations within the Justice Department, don’t you think he’d have stopped a few other investigations over the past three years? None of it makes any sense.
Perhaps Parnas decided to invent some leverage to use or Giuliani made some empty promises through him. The fact that sleazy people might try to do sleazy things to try to get opposition research wouldn’t surprise me at all. But the relevancy here to impeachment is nil. Parnas is a guy facing hard time and he’s looking for Adam Schiff to save him.
Want to know how I know? Because Schiff’s committee has had these materials for a week and not a single thing has leaked out. If there was any incriminating video or audio involving President Trump, it’d have been leaked immediately (just like all the transcript excerpts) because it would have bolstered the public hearings. The more likely reality is that these are simply pictures of Parnas and Trump in public. Perhaps he also has some recordings of Giuliani talking about getting information on Biden.
But so what? As I read these latest reports, I’m continually struck by how big the double standard is when it comes to this stuff. When a DNC operative goes to Ukrainian embassy officials and digs up dirt on Trump’s campaign, no one blinks an eye. When Hillary Clinton hires a foreign agent to work with the Russians to do the same, everyone shrugs. But when Rudy Giuliani does something similar, even if it was ill-advised and sloppy, it’s a major scandal. Is it acceptable for private citizens to use foreign sources for opposition research or not? The standard seems to be completely malleable depending on which political party is involved.
In the end, this will be Michael Cohen all over again. Parnas is not credible and nothing he’s going to provide will likely move Schiff’s case forward. What we will get is another round of media mouth-frothing and Democrats pretending this is finally it for the orange man. Color me extremely skeptical.