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Archive for October 22nd, 2021

Giuliani’s Pal Lev Parnas Convicted

By Allan Lengel

In a criminal case that was a carryover from the Trump Justice Department, Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman and former associate of Rudy Giuliani, was convicted Friday in New York of using funds from a foreign investor to influence political candidates with campaign donations, the Washington Post reports.

Lev Parnas

It took a federal jury less than a day to convict Parnas, a naturalized U.S. citizen, of fraud. He was charged with giving campaign money to several state and federal candidates to get access to them. He was also found guilty on counts related to a $325,000 donation in 2018 to a joint fundraising committee that supported then-President Donald Trump, the Post reports.

Prosecutors also alleged that Parnas lied to the Federal Elections Commission about the source of the 2018 donation.

Giuliani was not charged in the case, but remains under federal investigation. It is unclear if prosecutors will get Parnas to flip on Giuliani in exchange for leniency.

Shayna Jacobs of the The Post writes:

While Parnas’s trial did not directly relate to Giuliani or Trump, the guilty verdict still provides a legal coda to a precarious moment in Trump’s presidency: his first impeachment trial. Parnas, a Ukrainian native, was recruited to help Giuliani seek damaging information on Joe Biden and his son Hunter prior to the 2020 election. Trump was accused of threatening to withhold badly needed aid to Ukraine if officials there did not announce a criminal investigation into the Bidens.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Russian Mob

Border Arrests Reach Record Numbers in 2021 Fiscal Year

File photo, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

A record number of migrants have been arrested along the Mexico border with more than 1.7 million detainments during the 2021 fiscal year, The Washington Post reports.

By comparison, the average number of migrants taken into custody in the fiscal years between 2012 and 2020 was 540,000.  

In the first nine months of Biden’s administration, U.S. authorities have detained more than 1.3 million migrants, including 192,000 last month. 

Republicans have blamed Biden’s laxer immigration policies on the surge. 

During the 2021 fiscal year, more than 608,000 Mexican nationals were arrested, representing the largest source of illegal migration. 

The second-largest source of illegal migration was outside Mexico and Central America, in a category called “other,” which includes Haitians, Venezuelans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Brazilians and migrants from dozens of other nations. 

Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador followed. 

“Migration to the U.S.-Mexico border is now truly global,” Cris Ramón, an independent immigration consultant in Washington, said. “The implications for immigration policy require a far more comprehensive approach because it’s not enough to say you have to deter migration from Mexico or Central America. This has become a far more complex problem for the administration to deal with.”

AG Garland Defends Order for FBI to Investigate Threats at School Board Meetings

Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies before House Judiciary Committee. Photo: Congress.

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday defended his decision to order the FBI to investigate threats against educators and school board members, saying the Justice Department does not want to silence parents. 

“We are trying to prevent violence and threats of violence. It’s not only about schools — we have similar concerns about election workers,” Garland testified before the House Judiciary Committee, The Washington Post reports. “This is a rising problem in the United States, of threats of violence, and we are trying to prevent the violence.”

Republicans criticized the directive, which Garland issued on Oct. 4, saying it had a chilling effect on speech. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the directive amounted to “a snitch line on parents.”

“There’s nothing in this memorandum that has any effect on the kinds of curriculums that are taught or the ability of the parents to complain,” Garland responded.

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, said the directive was an overreach. 

“We don’t need the vast power of the federal government throwing its weight around,” Chabot said. “We don’t need you, the Justice Department, or the FBI trampling on the rights of parents.”

Garland also indicated that the Trump-era investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe is “still in action.”