Two of Rudy Giuliani’s associates will not meet a congressional committee’s deadline to produce documents related to their work in Ukraine, according to their lawyer. That attorney, who previously represented President Donald Trump, accused congressional investigators of trying to harass and intimidate the two men in a letter that The Daily Beast obtained. The men—Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman—had tried to help Giuliani investigate Hunter Biden, a project at the core of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees had set an October 7 deadline for Parnas and Fruman to voluntarily turn over records related to their activities with Giuiliani. “Your request for documents and communications is overly broad and unduly burdensome,” wrote their attorney, John Dowd. “The subject matter of your requests is well beyond the scope of your inquiry. This, in combination with requiring immediate responses, leads me to the inescapable conclusion that the Democratic Committee members’ intent is to harass, intimidate and embarrass my clients.”
Dowd said “The ‘Committees’”—in scare quotes—violated their standard procedures by asking the two men to turn over documents within seven days and testify within 15.
“Considering the important factual questions and legal issues attendant to the alleged whistleblower, your investigation, your authority and requests for information, your charter should be amended to exhibit some semblance of due process, fairness, justice and common decency,” Dowd’s letter concluded.
Parnas and Fruman, two Soviet-born Floridians, have connected Giuliani to various Ukrainian officials, including the ex-prosecutor who Trump and Giuliani claim was fired at Biden’s behest to protect his son, Hunter Biden.
According to the Associated Press, Parnas and Fruman also worked to orchestrate political changes in Ukraine that might help their nascent natural gas company, Global Energy Producers LLC. With Giuliani’s assistance, the two men successfully pressed for the ouster of America’s ambassador to Kiev, Marie Yovanovitch, and, the AP reported on Sunday, advanced efforts to overhaul leadership at Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, Naftogaz.
Congressional Democrats asked Parnass and Fruman for documents on Sept. 30. They also subpoenaed Giuliani that same day for documents. Giuliani told The Daily Beast he has not decided whether or not to comply.
“I have a real question about whether I should recognize their legitimacy,” he said. “I think they are totally illegitimate... I’m going to go in front of a committee with a chairman who is a liar.”
Going on offense against congressional investigators is a central part of the strategy that Trump’s allies are using to defend him. Chairman Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee has become their top foe. And the president himself has also lambasted the California Democrat, calling him “Shifty Schiff.”
“I haven't made up my mind,” Giuliani continued, “but one of the issues is, do you acknowledge an illicit committee?”
Administration officials have already stiff-armed the Hill. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo missed a deadline to turn over documents that Congress had subpoenaed. But members of Congress will still get face time with him soon; on October 15, he’s scheduled to meet behind closed doors with members and staff of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to discuss refugee caps. State Department officials have told Congress that Pompeo plans to be at the meeting, according to two sources familiar with the communications.