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Goldberg writes: "One good thing about surrounding yourself with tawdry gangsters and grifters is that if they flip on you, you can claim they have no credibility because they're criminals."

Lev Parnas arrives at federal court on Dec. 17 in New York City. (photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Lev Parnas arrives at federal court on Dec. 17 in New York City. (photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)


When Trump's Thugs Turn on Him

By Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times

21 January 20


Lev Parnas has shown us Trumpism from the inside.

ne good thing about surrounding yourself with tawdry gangsters and grifters is that if they flip on you, you can claim they have no credibility because they’re criminals.

Now that Lev Parnas, a key conspirator in Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s plot to shake down Ukraine, is singing, Trump’s defenders are pointing out that he is a disreputable person who can’t be trusted. “This is a man who is under indictment and who’s actually out on bail. This is a man who owns a company called Fraud Inc.,” the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said on Fox News, the only network on which she regularly appears. (Parnas’s company was actually called Fraud Guarantee, though that’s not any better.)

Grisham is obviously correct that he’s a shady character. He’s certainly not someone you’d want, say, threatening foreign officials on behalf of the president of the United States, as Parnas claimed he did during an extraordinary interview with Rachel Maddow that aired on Wednesday and Thursday on MSNBC.

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