Talk of a "quid pro quo" has dominated the nation these past three months as President Donald Trump's impeachment woes loom heavier.
Multiple people have already confirmed that the Trump administration withheld crucial congressionally-approved military assistance for Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announcing an investigation into the President's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Another confirmation emerged in a New York Times report on Monday when Kremlin-linked Ukrainian energy tycoon Dmytro Firtash said that the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, indirectly offered to help Firtash quash his Justice Department problems in the U.S. in exchange for leading him to information on Biden.
Firtash claims he met with now-indicted Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman in June, where the two urged him to hire Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensin, two lawyers close to Trump, to dig up dirt on Biden. Parnas's lawyer confirmed the meeting took place at Giuliani's request.
Firtash later paid the lawyers $1.2 million and they soon met with Attorney General William Barr to defend their new client. However, the whistleblower complaint that spurred impeachment proceedings against the President had already been released, leading Barr to send the lawyers "back to Chicago" where the racketeering charges against Firtash originated.
Firtash claims he was a victim of political division in the United States:
“Without my will and desire...I was sucked into this internal U.S. fight.”
Firtash's claims add a whole other layer to Giuliani's and Trump's corrupt efforts in using the United States government to pressure Ukraine into doing opposition research on Trump's political opponents.
Giuliani's pay-to-play scheme involved offering Firtash lawyers who could deliver a direct "message to DOJ" in retu… https://t.co/vZdfMHrgdO— Michael Carpenter (@Michael Carpenter) 1574715147.0
@ChristopherJM @maggieNYT The cherry on top from Putin & his soviet disinformation & kompromat strategy. Disarray e… https://t.co/nN4wj1bq7Y— Donald Putin (@Donald Putin) 1574680522.0
When you’re so sleazy you make it possible for Dmitry Firtash to say he didn’t want to get involved with people as… https://t.co/um2MbOuGa5— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall) 1574693750.0
If you had assumed that the Ukraine scandal was the result of corrupt wealthy Ukrainians using their influence with… https://t.co/JVRtqmAF6k— Adam Taylor (@Adam Taylor) 1574685634.0
@JoyceWhiteVance We've always thought the Swamp was about lining the pockets of Trump's business friends. He's now… https://t.co/0rglJIxtti— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu) 1574691220.0
@ChristopherJM They are all caught. This is where the goodfellas point at each other — who’s extorting whom blame g… https://t.co/7pFt06tENL— Lola (@Lola) 1574684437.0
Rudy and Trump are the Bonnie and Clyde of criminal activity. This is UNREAL BS!! Why Giuliani Singled Out 2 Ukrain… https://t.co/wEDDAwarsb— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@(((DeanObeidallah)))) 1574689300.0
@ChristopherJM @medical91 Once again for the people way I the back. Trumps business is blackmail. Trump will only… https://t.co/jVQHJhXpnd— Cat Escalera (@Cat Escalera) 1574696579.0
Firtash claims he had no information on Biden. The Austrian Minister of Justice finalized Firtash's extradition from Austria to the United States back in July, but the defense asked for the case against him to be reopened, stalling the extradition in court.
Firtash still hasn't been extradited.