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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won't talk about texts with donor indicted for foreign influence of U.S. elections

Posted By on Tue, Jan 14, 2020 at 6:51 PM

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Texts have surfaced between Gov. Ron DeSantis and a right-wing donor indicted for helping Rudy Giuliani siphon foreign cash into American elections from Ukraine.

The texts between the second-year governor and Lev Parnas were turned over, reports The Wall Street Journal, as evidence in Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.

Today, when DeSantis was asked to address the texts during a media gaggle at the capital, he said he had nothing more to add and ignored follow-up questions, according to Politico reporter Matt Dixon on Twitter.

This is not the first time DeSantis has attempted to shrug off a connection to Parnas and Igor Fruman, another pro-Trump donor charged in October by U.S. prosecutors with helping Giuliani funnel money from an unnamed Ukrainian politician into U.S. elections, both of whom have donated to DeSantis' political committee.

When the donor duo, who were arrested the same night, were facing federal heat last October, DeSantis claimed to have no relationship with Fruman and Parnas even though they donated tens of thousands of dollars to his cause. Shortly after, feeling some of the heat himself emanating off his two donors, DeSantis agreed to turn the donation over to the federal government.
Back in June 2018, while DeSantis was still campaigning for governor, Parnas and Fruman donated $50,000 to DeSantis' political committee Global Energy Partners. Also, before the indictment, Parnas was on the host committee of fundraisers for DeSantis in June, July and October 2018. In November 2018, Parnas and Giuliani went to two DeSantis rallies, one in Daytona Beach and one in Boca Raton. On election night, Parnas and Fruman were spotted at DeSantis' party. Parnas was pictured hugging DeSantis. Orlando Weekly photographer Joey Roulette even shot video of Parnas with Ron and Casey DeSantis.

Still, DeSantis took another opportunity in October to say there is little to read into all of these sightings with Giuliani's accused Ukraine associates, spinning the accumulation of hangouts as Fruman and Parnas being random guys who happen to frequent conservative political events. All the while, more reports came out showing DeSantis and Parnas sharing an embrace and photos suggesting the two have traveled together by private plane.

There's a lot here DeSantis is asking us to ignore between him and two guys the feds have arrested for tampering with elections. The Florida Democratic Party surely isn't buying it; they've made a records request for all the correspondence between DeSantis, Parnas, Fruman and Giuliani while DeSantis has been in office. 

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