AP: President Trump says he doesn’t know 2 charged businessmen

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President Donald Trump speaks during an event on “transparency in Federal guidance and enforcement” in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Washington. Americans are following the impeachment inquiry closely _ and are now slightly more likely to approve than disapprove of the inquiry while more closely split over whether Trump should be removed from office. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he doesn’t know the two Florida businessmen associated with his personal lawyer who were charged with federal campaign finance violations.

The associates of Rudy Giuliani were arrested Wednesday on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.

Trump said Thursday that he hasn’t spoken to Giuliani about the associates. He says, “We have nothing to do with it.”

Trump made the comments on the White House South Lawn as he prepared to leave for a campaign rally in Minnesota.

The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.


2:15 p.m.

The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan says two associates of Rudy Giuliani who are accused of trying to buy influence over U.S. policy on Ukraine were arrested while trying to leave the country.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters Thursday that businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were about to board an international fight from Virginia with one-way tickets when they were detained at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The pair and a third man are accused of trying to use straw donors to hide the source of money they contributed to a congressman and a political action committee supporting Trump’s re-election.

Berman says the men asked a congressman to help remove the American ambassador to Ukraine. He says Parnas and Fruman were acting at the request of a Ukrainian government official.


12:30 p.m.

House Democrats have subpoenaed two associates of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as part of their impeachment inquiry. The subpoenas came hours after the two men were arrested for campaign finance violations.

Three House committees subpoenaed Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman for documents they have so far refused to provide. The panels have also subpoenaed Giuliani.

Parnas and Fruman were involved in Giuliani’s efforts to urge Ukrainian officials to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his family. That effort was also discussed by Trump in a July call with Ukraine’s president and is at the heart of the impeachment probe.

The men were arrested on a four-count indictment, including charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.


11:35 a.m.

An outside political spending group says it’s put on hold a $325,000 donation that led to criminal charges against two businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

A spokeswoman for America First Action says in a statement that the money won’t be used for any purpose and will remain in a separate account while the court cases play out.

Kelly Sadler says the committee takes its legal obligations seriously and that it will “scrupulously comply with the law.”

Prosecutors allege businessmen used wire transfers from a corporate entity they controlled to make the donation in 2018.

But according to a lawsuit, the corporation wasn’t the true source of the money. The businessmen were indicted Thursday.


11 a.m.

Federal prosecutors say two businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani asked a U.S. congressman to help remove the American ambassador to Ukraine after the men committed to raising more than $20,000 for the politician.

The congressman isn’t identified by name in court papers.

An indictment unsealed Thursday says businessman Lev Parnas met with the congressman at an event sponsored by an independent expenditure committee funded by Parnas and fellow businessman Igor Fruman.

According to the court papers, the congressman received about $3 million from the committee during the 2018 election cycle.

The documents say Parnas’ efforts to have the U.S. ambassador removed were “conducted, at least in part, at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials.”

Prosecutors say Fruman made a contribution of $2,700 to the congressman’s campaign, the federal maximum, and made an additional $2,700 donation in Parnas’ name.


10:20 a.m.

Two Florida businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance violations resulting from a $325,000 donation to a political action committee supporting Trump’s re-election.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested on a four count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.

Records show they used wire transfers from a corporate entity they controlled to make a $325,000 donation to the America First Action committee in 2018. Records that became public through a lawsuit show that the corporate entity reported as making the transaction was not the true source of the money.

A lawyer for the men, John Dowd, hung up on an Associated Press reporter calling about the case.

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