At the same time as Rudy Giuliani and his now-accused friends urged President Donald Trump to remove Ambassador Marie Jovanovic from her post in Ukraine, Trump administration officials looked to potential candidates to take her job.
One of the people in the mix, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, is Pete Sessions, a former congressman who called for Jovanovic's dismissal. He is also a longtime ally of the former New York mayor and is thought to have taken millions of dollars from the PAS, funded in part by Julian's accused comrades.
Jovanovic is ready to testify on the November 1
Session Talks – And Another Possible Job Choice, Raoul Mas Canosa, a South Florida businessman who has deep ties with the Cuban expat community – is spreading inside and outside the administration from late 2018 to the first months of 2019 , according to sources. Lev Parnassus, an associate of Giuliani arrested last month for alleged campaign finance violations, was part of discussions with Mas Canos with associates in Kiev, according to many people familiar with the talks. A former State Department official said US diplomats in Kiev had learned that Mas Canos was in dispute after rumors spread about him in Ukrainian political circles.
A session spokesman told The Daily Beast that he had not been offered the message or had been checked for it. Mass. Canosa has confirmed that he was misled about taking office.
Trump recalled Jovanovic on April 29 after Giuliani and his allies launched a vicious campaign against her. Jovanovic said he believes the people who call for her ousting want to replace her with a new ambassador who will help develop their business interests. Her memory generated malice from congressional Democrats who suspected something strange was happening. But instead of replacing her with a political ally, the Trump administration sent veteran diplomat Bill Taylor to the embassy there as interim.
Taylor told Congress that he also felt something was up and believed that the Trump administration was refusing military assistance to pressure the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son. Democrats are investigating the scheme as part of the impeachment investigation of Trump. Taylor testified publicly prior to the Nov. 13 investigation. Jovanovic is scheduled to testify on November 15th.
Sessions and Julian have been allies for over 15 years and Session called the former New York mayor a friend. The Mayor of New York spends $ 1,000 per capita on the Texas Republican in 2002 for the New York magazine. And he cut television advertising for sessions in recent weeks from his stubborn 2004 campaign. "When there is so much stake in our country, we need people in Congress with the characters to lead," says Giuliani in the ad, according to a story in the archives of The Hill . Sessions, in turn, endorsed the unsuccessful presidential nominee for President Giuliani in 2008, and called on social conservatives to support him despite his support for abortion rights.
Ten years later, Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May 2018, citing "specific evidence from close companions" that Jovanovic "spoke privately and repeatedly about his neglect of the current administration in a manner who may request her expulsion ”.
In an October indictment, federal prosecutors accused Parnassus and his business partner, Igor Fruman, of violating campaign finance. Prosecutors allege the two men acted as straw donors to a foreign government official and donated money to a political action committee that gave up to $ 3 million to Congressman-1, which reportedly made the sessions widespread .
The indictment alleges that Parnassus and Fruman "sought assistance from Congressman-1 in challenging the US." The government would abolish or withdraw the then-US state. Ambassador to Ukraine. "They both say they want Jovanovich's removal" at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials. "
From deleted posts on Facebook indicate that Sessions met with Parnassus and Fruman on Capitol Hill on May 9, 2018. He sent a letter urging the State Department to fire Jovanovic the same day.
Since the scandal with Ukraine quarreled, the federal grand jury in New York summoned Sessions for documents related to his interactions with Giuliani, Parnassus and Fruman, including efforts to recall Jovanovic.
Mas Canosa confirmed to The Daily Beast that he had earlier this year, he turned to serve as an ambassador to Wu He said he had never met Juliani, Parnassus or Fruman. "
" I really didn't feel like I was well-suited, "he said." a choice, if I was asked to serve, I would have made it out of love for the country, the period, the end of history. "
Mas Canosa indicated that she had concerns about Jovanovic.
" She did not serve the president well, as they told me. he said of Jovanovic.
Mas Canos, a former Wall Street investment adviser who now runs a company called Gladius Consulting, would be an unorthodox pick to replace Jovanovic. He has never served as a diplomat and most of his comments focus on Latin American and Cuban politics. His late brother, Jorge Mas Canosa, was a rising figure in the Cuban exile community in Florida and the anti-Castro politician who founded the Cuban American National Foundation. There seems to be little public evidence that Mas Canos has anything to do with Ukraine.
The campaign to install it has not gained traction, according to one Trump administration official. "It was complicated early," said an official.
However, talk of Mas Canos spread on Russian-language social media. On May 12, an obscure commentator passing the @prokhozhij handle on the Telegram messaging platform wrote that "The new US ambassador to Ukraine may be a Cuban-born American businessman, Raul Mas Canos."
later the news spread to more political commentators, including Taras Berezovets, a television presenter in Kiev, Ukraine. In his Telegram channel, he reports that Mas Canos, who "frequently appears as a commentator on Fox's favorite Fox News Forum", is about to be the next ambassador.
Berezovets told the Daily Daily Beast that he "first learned about Raoul Mas Canos from my friends in Washington in May."
Mas Canos nephew Jorge Mas Santos contributed to Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign. after the election of Trump, Mas Canos said in Spanish-language publication Diario Las Americas that Julian deserves a seat in Trump's cabinet.
During his appearance before the House impeachment investigation, former senior Trump National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified that "it was said that these gentlemen, Mr. Parnassus, Mr. Fruman and Mr. [Harry] The sergeant was all in business with Mr. Giuliani and the impression that there were a number of Ukrainian employees and others was that they were interested in seeking business deals in Ukraine. "Hill did not specify what those interests might be. But she said she believed the reason Jovanovic was the target of the blurry campaign "appears to have been business deals of individuals seeking to improve their investment positions within Ukraine."
– with additional reporting by Anna Nemtsov