Rudy Giuliani may be a metaphorical "hand grenade"—as former White House official John Bolton thinks—but he is a handsomely paid hand grenade for sure. Reuters reports that Giuliani collected $500,000 last year for work with a company co-founded by a Ukrainian-American associate, Lev Parnas. If that name rings a bell, it's because Parnas was one of two Giuliani associates arrested last week on campaign finance charges. The new disclosure of Giuliani's pay from Parnas' Florida-based Fraud Guarantee company doesn't suggest any wrongdoing, though Reuters notes that prosecutors are digging into the various interactions Giuliani had with Parnas and the other indicted man, Igor Fruman.
- In defense: The payment is above-board, Giuliani tells the Washington Post. “I know exactly where the money came from. I knew it at the time,” he tells the newspaper. “I will prove beyond any doubt it came from the United States of America.”
- His services: Parnas' company Fraud Guarantee says it helps clients "reduce and mitigate fraud," and it contracted with Giuliani Partners in part so Giuliani could offer legal advice on regulatory matters, per Reuters. Giuliani tells the Post that $500,000 is relatively cheap. "Some of our contracts are two or three million dollars."
- Ukraine connection: Giuliani worked with Parnas and Fruman in Ukraine—they are reportedly well connected there—as part of the Trump attorney's efforts to find dirt on Joe Biden and son Hunter. The three began working together in 2018, about the time Giuliani would have been paid the $500,000, notes the Post. Their efforts helped lead President Trump to request in July that Ukraine's leader open a Biden investigation, and that request has in turn led to the current impeachment inquiry.
- Under investigation: Federal prosecutors are looking at the entirety of Giuliani's business dealings in Ukraine and have examined his bank records, reports the Wall Street Journal. "They can look at my Ukraine business all they want,” says Giuliani. The scope of the investigation was unclear. Giuliani's Ukraine ties go back to 2008, when he advised boxer Vitali Klitschko on a failed run for mayor in Kyiv. Klitschko won in 2014, however, and attempted to a secure a $300,000 contract for Giuliani's services, though the deal was never completed.
- Back at you: Bolton may have referred to Giuliani as a hand grenade, but Giuliani had comparison of his own in return. “I’m very disappointed that his bitterness drives him to attack a friend falsely," he told NBC News. "It’s really ironic that John Bolton is calling anyone else a hand grenade, when John is described by many as an atomic bomb."
- Trump's suspicions: Trump, meanwhile, thinks Bolton, his former national security adviser, is the source of many leaks of late related to the Ukraine controversy, reports the Daily Beast.
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