Ex-Republican Lawmaker Implicated In Indictment Of Giuliani’s Associates
Former Texas Rep. Pete Sessions reportedly popped up in the indictment against two Soviet-born associates of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani this week, according to The Texas Tribune.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Florida-based businessmen who reportedly helped Giuliani network with Ukrainian government officials in his campaign for an investigation into Joe Biden, were arrested on Wednesday at Dulles International Airport.
The two men are accused of “violating campaign finance rules, including funneling Russian money into President Trump’s campaign,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Sessions, who lost his bid for re-election last year, is reported to be “Congressman-1” in the indictment.
The document says Parnas and Fruman “committed to raise $20,000 or more for a then-sitting U.S. Congressman” — referenced again as “Congressman-1” — and that the lawmaker “had been the beneficiary of approximately $3 million” in contributions from a campaign committee.
The congressman was identified by NBC News as Sessions, and the campaign committee was identified as a pro-Trump super PAC.
Around the same time, federal prosecutors say that Parnas "sought Congressman-1's assistance in causing the U.S. government to remove or recall” then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was subsequently relieved of her post in May.
As House Rules Committee chairman at the time, Sessions advocated for Yovanovitch’s removal, the Tribune said.
Sessions has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, claiming that he never took action following any of his meetings with Parnas and Fruman.
"If I am ‘Congressman One’, I could not have had any knowledge of the scheme described in the indictment or have involvement or coordination of it," he said.
"I was first approached by these individuals for a meeting about the strategic need for Ukraine to become energy independent," Sessions added. "There was no request in that meeting and I took no action. Over time, I recall that there were a couple additional meetings. Again, at no time did I take any official action after these meetings."
The former congressman also said his support for removing Yovanovitch was not due to lobbying but information he received that the former ambassador was bad-mouthing Trump in the course of her official duties.
Sessions said his only motive for approaching the Secretary of State on the matter was his belief “that political appointees should not be disparaging the President, especially while serving overseas."
As for Giuliani, Sessions said he and the attorney have been friends for 30 years, but he knows nothing of Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings.