(Associated Press) MICHAEL BIESECKER DESMOND BUTLER and BRYAN SLODYSKO October 11 2019 WASHINGTON Businessmen with ties to Rudy Giuliani lobbied a U.S. congressman in 2018 for help ousting the American ambassador to Ukraine around the same time they committed to raising money for the lawmaker. An indictment unsealed Thursday identified the lawmaker only as Congressman 1." But the donations described in the indictment match campaign finance reports for former Rep. Pete Sessions a Texas Republican who lost his re-election bid in November 2018. Sessions 64 has denied wrongdoing. But the federal indictment alleges Congressman 1" was part of what prosecutors described as a coordinated effort to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch at the behest of an unnamed Ukrainian official. Sessions who has been weighing a political comeback now finds himself entangled in the impeachment investigation centered on President Donald Trumps dealings with Ukraine as well as Giulianis relationships in the former Soviet republic. The indictment was made public Thursday following the arrest of two Florida businessmen with ties to Giuliani. It alleges that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman leveraged a flurry of GOP political donations in a campaign to force Yovanovitchs removal an effort prosecutors say was aided by laundered foreign money. Parnas and Frumans outsized political giving allowed the two relatively unknown entrepreneurs to quickly win access to the highest levels of the Republican Party including face-to-face meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago. On May 9 2018 Parnas posted a photo of himself and his business partner David Correia with Sessions in his Capitol Hill office with the caption Hard at work !!"
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