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Rudy Giuliani from Prince to Minion to Villain to Russian Asset Page 1

From a hard nose prosecutor, to America’s mayor, to a right wing conspiracy nut, to a criminal suspect and a Russian asset the rise and fall of Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani along with Trump are using Russian talking points to promote Russia’s version of interference in the 2016 election. It now appears that Rudy Giuliani is a Russian asset; the question is Rudy Giuliani a useful idiot or a willing asset. You have to question are their allegiance to America or to Russia, more and more it looks like their allegiance is to Russia and not to America.


Rudolph William Louis Giuliani is an American politician, attorney, businessman, and public speaker who served as the 107th Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. He currently acts as an attorney to President Donald Trump. Politically a Democrat, then an Independent in the 1970s, and a Republican since the 1980s, Giuliani served as United States Associate Attorney General from 1981 to 1983.

That year he became the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, holding the position until 1989. When Giuliani took office as Mayor of New York City, he appointed a new police commissioner, William Bratton, who applied the broken windows theory of urban decay, which holds that minor disorders and violations create a permissive atmosphere that leads to further and more serious crimes that can threaten the safety of a city; to prevent major crime, the theory holds, the police should enforce seemingly minor "quality-of-life" laws such as those outlawing public drinking, littering, and jay-walking.

Within several years, Giuliani was widely credited for making major improvements in the city's quality of life and lowering the rate of violent crimes. While Giuliani was still Mayor, he ran for the United States Senate in 2000; however, he withdrew from the race upon learning of his prostate cancer diagnosis. Giuliani was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2001, and was given an honorary knighthood in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II for his leadership in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Full Story

Vox
How did America's Mayor wind up at the center of Trump's impeachment scandal?

By Geoff Earle, Deputy U.s. Political Editor For Dailymail.com

A smear on Joe Biden's son Hunter with similarities to the 'pizzagate' has ties to some of the same characters who got the 2016 conspiracy theory going, including Alex Jones, who has peddled false theories that the Sandy Hook massacre never happened. Despite the lack of evidence, the claims have received wide distribution on the Internet, gaining millions of views and driving search terms, then reverberating on broadcast media. In the case of Hunter Biden – a top figure in President Trump's debate attacks on Joe Biden in Thursday night's debate against Joe Biden – Jones posted a video making wild claims about the former vice president's son in a headline and accompanying Oct. 17 video.

It had similarities to the debunked pizza-gate conspiracy from 2016, which accused powerful Democrats of running a pedophilia ring out of the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza shop (the popular restaurant has no basement). It takes a vague quote from Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claiming to have pictures of Hunter Biden 'that I can’t describe, some of which are illegal' and takes off from there. According to FactCheck.org, Jones' InfoWars video has been viewed more than 2 million times. It continues to echo online, with 'human trafficking' now being the third most common term in connection with Hunter Biden, NBC News reported. more...

Dan Mangan

Ken Kurson, the former editor of a New York newspaper when it was owned by his friend Jared Kushner, a top advisor to President Donald Trump, has been charged by federal prosecutors with interstate cyber stalking and harassment of three people. Kurson, a political consultant who is also a confidant of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is accused of repeatedly visiting his victims at work, making false complaints with their employers and “malicious cyber activity,” the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The criminal conduct allegedly occurred in the last two months of 2015, when Kurson was editor-in-chief of The New York Observer, then-owned by Kushner, who is alsoTrump’s son-in-law. The Maplewood, New Jersey, resident surrendered to authorities on Friday morning and appeared virtually in Brooklyn federal court on Friday afternoon. A woman who identified herself as “a victim” of Kurson dialed into the proceeding, which was held over audio links because of coronavirus precautions. more...

President Donald Trump is preparing to level a fusillade of allegations against Joe Biden and his son during Thursday's debate. Here's what we know.
By KYLE CHENEY, NATASHA BERTRAND and ANDREW DESIDERIO

It’s 2016 all over again: Donald Trump and his allies are touting a set of purloined documents to accuse his Democratic opponent of corruption, and the specter of foreign interference hangs over the waning days of the race. This time, it’s Joe Biden in Trump’s sights. And it’s the president’s own allies controlling the timing and content of the releases, prompting accusations from Democrats of bad faith and dirty dealing.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said he obtained the materials from the laptop of Hunter Biden, the Democratic nominee’s son. They have not been reviewed or verified by POLITICO — and there are questions about the New York Post’s reporting on the matter, as well as the tabloid and other Trump-friendly outlets’ interpretations of events. There are concerns, too, about the former New York mayor’s interactions with figures linked by Trump’s own administration to Russian intelligence.

For those not steeped in the byzantine maze of reporting on Hunter Biden, the story can be pretty hard to follow. No evidence has emerged, beyond the purported correspondence, that the former VP was involved in or profited from his son’s overseas work or abused his position to support it. That hasn’t stopped Trump from hyping the laptop leaks, saying they make “crooked Hillary Clinton look like an amateur,” and urging his attorney general to prosecute Biden, among other prominent Democrats. more...

by: Russell Falcon

NEW YORK (KXAN) — Questions about credibility surrounded the publication of a story alleging claims that a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter proved shady dealings with foreign countries. The claims made in the article, titled “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS,” allege that Joe and Hunter Biden profited from deals in the Ukraine while Joe Biden was vice president, according to the New York Times. The New York Times reports that the Post based its story around photos and documents claiming to be from the laptop of Hunter Biden. But two employees of the tabloid say the staff writer who wrote the story refused to put his name on it because he had doubts about the credibility of the claims.

Additionally, the Times says other Post staff members weren’t sure the paper did enough to verify claims — in addition to having doubts on the reliability of sources. Sources that were named in the article were Pres. Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Bannon, who was arrested in August on charges claiming he ripped off fundraising donors, reportedly flagged the laptop’s contents to the Post last month, the NYT reports. Giuliani, meanwhile, is said to have given “a copy” of the laptop contents to The NY Post on Oct. 11, according to the Times. Two writers with The Post report that after the “BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS” article was written, editors pressed staff to put their names on it, but many refused out of fear over its possibly questionable content — in addition to possible legal ramifications. more...

Trump’s personal attorney has indiscreet encounter with actor playing Borat’s daughter in hotel room during pandemic
Catherine Shoard

The reputation of Rudy Giuliani could be set for a further blow with the release of highly embarrassing footage in Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat. In the film, released on Friday, the former New York mayor and current personal attorney to Donald Trump is seen reaching into his trousers and apparently touching his genitals while reclining on a bed in the presence of the actor playing Borat’s daughter, who is posing as a TV journalist. Following an obsequious interview for a fake conservative news programme, the pair retreat at her suggestion for a drink to the bedroom of a hotel suite, which is rigged with concealed cameras.

After she removes his microphone, Giuliani, 76, can be seen lying back on the bed, fiddling with his untucked shirt and reaching into his trousers. They are then interrupted by Borat who runs in and says: “She’s 15. She’s too old for you.” Representatives for Giuliani have not replied to the Guardian’s requests for comment. Word of the incident first emerged on 7 July, when Giuliani called New York police to report the intrusion of an unusually-dressed man.

“This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit,” Giuliani told the New York Post. “It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive. “This person comes in yelling and screaming, and I thought this must be a scam or a shakedown, so I reported it to the police. He then ran away,” Giuliani said. The police found no crime had been committed. more...

In this episode of The New Abnormal, Rick and Molly evaluate Rudy Giuliani’s integrity (or lack thereof) and talk to his daughter Caroline about her choice to vote for Biden.
The Daily Beast

Rick Wilson spent years working for Rudy Giuliani. He used to look up to his boss, the mayor. These days, he can barely look down without spitting. “The worst possible Greek tragedy doesn't encompass the fall of Rudy, from calamity to clown show to complete moral and physical collapse,” Rick tells co-host Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal.

“The fact that Trump views him and uses him as this hatchet man, his delivery boy for these absurd attacks… You know, there's a part of me that's like, ‘Do you have no fucking pride left? You only get trotted out for the shit jobs like these. You only get brought out and hosed off once every few months when Donald Trump has to do something disgusting.’” more...

Allison Quinn, Blake Montgomery

Hours after Rudy Giuliani publicly claimed that he’d turned over a computer belonging to Hunter Biden that contained “numerous pictures of underage girls” to the Delaware State Police, Delaware authorities punted the matter to the FBI, citing “credibility” questions. “In light of ongoing questions about the credibility of these claims and multiple reports that the FBI is investigating their veracity, law enforcement is referring this matter to the FBI,” the Delaware Department of Justice told The Daily Beast in a statement about the Trump lawyer’s latest allegation. Giuliani had made the claim in an interview with Newsmax just a few hours earlier on Tuesday, providing no evidence. more...

Justin Baragona

Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani argued on Tuesday that the American public deserved to see reports based off material from Hunter Biden’s laptop “even if it isn’t accurate.” Appearing on AM1100 The Flag, a North Dakota radio show, the former New York City mayor grumbled about social media companies initially restricting access to the Post stories, saying it “reminds me of the communist and the Nazis.” From there, he said the story should be spread regardless of its accuracy. “They’ve set up an Iron Curtain so you can’t get out the New York Post story which I happened to know is 100 percent accurate,” Giuliani declared. “But even if it isn’t accurate, the American people are entitled to know it.” more...

Giuliani’s dirty tricks are the scandal, not Hunter Biden’s hard drive.
By Michelle Goldberg

The Treasury Department last month imposed sanctions on four people linked to Russia for attempting to influence the presidential election, including a Ukrainian parliamentarian named Andriy Derkach, who has worked with Donald Trump’s consigliere Rudy Giuliani to smear Joe Biden. According to the Treasury, Derkach has been “an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian intelligence services.”

The Treasury said Derkach had worked covertly to cultivate “false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 presidential election” — an obvious reference to Biden. Derkach had released “edited audiotapes and other unsupported information” and managed to push his “unsubstantiated narratives” into Western media.

According to The Washington Post, U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Giuliani, then searching in Ukraine for dirt about Biden and his son Hunter, was the target of a Russian influence operation. “The Russians have been cultivating Rudy Giuliani as an asset for over a year,” Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told me. “Any information proffered by Rudy Giuliani is likely compromised.”

That, of course, did not stop The New York Post from publishing a series of breathless articles about Hunter Biden purportedly based on a hard drive that fell into Giuliani’s hands. Some of the stories — like one about Hunter’s anguished texts to his father from rehab — seem intended to wound Joe Biden by humiliating his child. Others were meant to resurrect the discredited accusation that Joe Biden pressed for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor to help Burisma, an energy company that had Hunter Biden on its board.

So far, the Hunter Biden laptop affair is a farcical retread of the Russian hack-and-leak operation that helped torpedo Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations in 2016. Now, as then, the Trump campaign appears to be hoping that the media will dribble out stolen private messages over the final weeks of the campaign, creating an illusion of scandal where none exists. And now, as then, someone in Trump’s inner circle is working directly with someone who is, at least according to the U.S. government, a Russian agent. more...

Adam Rawnsley, The Daily Beast

Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian politician—and alleged Russian agent—Andrii Derkach for election interference activity. The member of Ukraine’s parliament has been working with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to gather allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast, “We removed this account and this Page for violating our policy against the use of our platform by people engaged in election-focused influence operations.”

Derkach was sanctioned by the Treasury Department in September for allegedly acting as an agent of Russian intelligence and being “directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

Through his “Nabu Leaks” website, Derkach began spreading leaked recordings of conversations between Vice President Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussing a $1 billion loan to Ukraine and the need to fire an allegedly corrupt former prosecutor. Derkach and a number of Republican politicians have spread unsubstantiated allegations that Biden’s internationally backed pressure on Ukraine to fire its prosecutor general was part of a corruption scheme involving Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company where Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board. Giuliani has come under increasing scrutiny for his relationship with Derkach, as revelations swirl about the U.S. intelligence community’s concerns that Russian spies may have tried to use the former mayor of New York as a conduit to launder disinformation from Moscow. more...

New York Post Published Hunter Biden Report Amid Newsroom Doubts
Some reporters withheld their bylines and questioned the credibility of an article that made the tabloid’s front page on Wednesday.
By Katie Robertson

The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said. Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

Coming late in a heated presidential campaign, the article suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The Post based the story on photos and documents the paper said it had taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden. Many Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents, said five people with knowledge of the tabloid’s inner workings. Staff members also had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing, the people said.

The article named two sources: Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump now facing federal fraud charges, who was said to have made the paper aware of the hard drive last month; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was said to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on Oct. 11. more...

Rudy Giuliani has traveled abroad looking for dirt on the Bidens, developing relationships with shadowy figures, including a Ukrainian lawmaker.
Author: Associated Press

A New York tabloid's puzzling account about how it acquired emails purportedly from Joe Biden's son has raised some red flags. One of the biggest involves the source of the emails: Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani has traveled abroad looking for dirt on the Bidens, developing relationships with shadowy figures, including a Ukrainian lawmaker who U.S. officials have described as a Russian agent and part of a broader Russian effort to denigrate the Democratic presidential nominee. Yet Giuliani says foreign sources didn't provide the Hunter Biden emails. He says a laptop containing the emails and intimate photos was simply abandoned in a Delaware repair shop and the shop owner reached out to Giuliani's lawyer.

That hasn't stopped the FBI from investigating whether the emails are part of a foreign influence operation. The emails have surfaced as U.S. officials have been warning that Russia, which backed Trump's 2016 campaign through hacking of Democratic emails and a covert social media campaign, is interfering again this year. The latest episode with Giuliani underscores the risk he poses to a White House that spent years confronted by a federal investigation into whether Trump associates had coordinated with Russia.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that intelligence agencies had warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation. The newspaper, citing four former officials, said that assessment was based on information including intercepted communications showing Giuliani had been in contact with people tied to Russian intelligence.

The newspaper said national security adviser Robert O'Brien had warned Trump that information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia, but that Trump brushed off the warning. Far from distancing himself from Giuliani, Trump has made the purported Hunter Biden emails one of his main talking points in the final weeks of the campaign as he tries to disparage his Democratic rival. more...

Andrii Derkach jumped into the fray even as Giuliani shrugged off concerns that his latest smears against the Biden family may be fueled by a foreign election-interference plot.
Allison Quinn

Rudy Giuliani has dismissed concerns that his latest anti-Biden smears are part of a foreign-election interference plot, but a Ukrainian lawmaker recently deemed an “active Russian agent” by the U.S. Treasury is now touting further details to come. Andrii Derkach, one of the key players in Giuliani’s years-long dirt-digging mission against Joe Biden in Ukraine, piggybacked on the former New York City mayor’s latest Biden smears—supposedly involving a forgotten laptop. Derkach claimed on Facebook that there is a “second laptop” with evidence of corruption involving the Biden family.

The claim appears to muddy the waters around Giuliani’s latest “smoking gun” charge against Hunter Biden. He says they came to light after an obscure Delaware computer repair shop owner found Biden’s laptop in his possession and copied the hard drive before alerting federal authorities and inexplicably Giuliani’s own lawyer. Now, with Derkach jumping in with claims of a “second laptop,” that would mean private computer contents allegedly connected to Hunter Biden have somehow found their way into the hands of three separate parties: A media empire controlled by a Chinese billionaire who’s tight with Steve Bannon; a random Delaware shop owner who is outspoken in his support of Trump; and Derkach, a Ukrainian conspiracy theory peddler who studied at Moscow’s FSB academy.

Derkach wrote on Facebook about the questionable New York Post report that relied on unverified images of emails provided by Trump allies to supposedly prove a corruption scheme by Biden and his son involving Ukrainian gas company Burisma. He then said there was a second laptop, which was used by “two representatives for the interests of [Burisma founder Mykola] Zlochevsky.” more...

Caren Bohan, Kevin Johnson, Matthew Brown, Jeff Neiburg USA TODAY

When a New York tabloid published the alleged contents of a computer hard drive purporting to document the Ukrainian and Chinese business activities of Hunter Biden, the newspaper cast the information as a "smoking gun." Enter the FBI. Less than three weeks before one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in history, federal authorities are investigating whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is part of a smoke bomb of disinformation pushed by Russia.

The inquiry, according to a person familiar with the matter, is at least in part, aimed at determining whether Russia has set its sights on a familiar target: Biden's father, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The FBI has declined to comment, refusing to either confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

The gauzy details of the newspaper's account trace the hard drive to a computer repair shop in Delaware, where a laptop had been left for service last year but was never re-claimed by the customer. Exactly how the material moved to Giuliani,who with Trump has long pushed debunked conspiracy theories about the Bidens, has raised as many questions as the authenticity of the laptop data the president's lawyer provided to the tabloid. more...

David Folkenflik

It is a classic moment in the weeks before Election Day: a news outlet runs a front-page exclusive promising scandalous revelations about a big-ticket candidate. This week, the New York Post published a story based on what it says are emails — "smoking gun" emails, it calls them — sent by a Ukrainian business executive to the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The story fits snugly into a narrative from President Trump and his allies that Hunter Biden's zealous pursuit of business ties abroad also compromised the former vice president.

Yet this was a story marked more by red flags than investigative rigor. To start, the emails have not been verified as authentic. They were said to have been extracted from a computer assumed — but not proven — to have belonged to the younger Biden. They were said to have been given to the Post by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is known for making discredited claims about the Bidens. The venue is also suspect. The pro-Trump New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a steady supporter of the president despite recently casting doubt on Trump's reelection prospects. The lead reporter was a former producer for Sean Hannity, Trump's best friend on his favorite news network, Fox News, also controlled by the Murdochs. And the story asserted the existence of a meeting absent any documentation that it actually occurred. (The Biden campaign says the tabloid never sought comment on the veracity of the claims.) more...

DGAF MODE

In a wild interview, Giuliani defended his years-long mission to torpedo the Bidens by exposing their alleged misdeeds in Ukraine. And he doesn’t care who supplied the ammunition.
Asawin Suebsaeng, Erin Banco - the daily beast

Rudy Giuliani thinks it’s hilarious. He says the questions mounting around him—including those about whether his efforts to dump Hunter Biden’s documents and photos are part of some foreign election-interference operation—are “a bunch of bullshit.” He’s unconcerned about intelligence assessments that one of his former associates was a Russian agent, a proposition that he gave more or less even odds. In fact, Giuliani said, he has been “laughing my head off” about the whole affair.

Instead, the pugnacious former New York City mayor said he was on a mission to push out all the contents of a hard drive he allegedly obtained, that he claims belongs to the former vice president’s son—no matter how seemingly irrelevant others may say they are. “I sleep with it at night,” Giuliani said of the hard drive, chortling. “It’s because I work late.” more...

By Marshall Cohen, Zachary Cohen, Michael Warren, Evan Perez, Alex Marquardt and Mark Morales, CNN

(CNN) US authorities are investigating whether recently published emails that purport to detail the business dealings of Joe Biden's son in Ukraine and China are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation effort targeting the former vice president's campaign, a US official and a congressional source briefed on the matter said. The conservative-leaning New York Post claimed in a series of articles this week that it obtained "smoking-gun" emails about Hunter Biden and his dealings in Ukraine. CNN has not determined the authenticity of the emails.

President Donald Trump and his allies have used this topic to smear the Bidens over the past year and seized on the recent articles to attack Biden in the final weeks of the presidential election. The specific new allegations touch on the same topics as the Kremlin's ongoing disinformation campaign against the Bidens, which the US intelligence community said this summer was intended to weaken Biden's candidacy against Trump. The FBI is leading the investigation, the official and congressional source said. NBC was first to report the inquiry.

The probe is part of a larger investigation into Russian disinformation that dates back to before the impeachment inquiry last fall. The alleged disinformation campaign is aimed at tying the former vice president to his son's dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, according to US officials familiar with the matter. The New York Post says it obtained the emails through two Trump confidants: His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Giuliani has openly coordinated with a known Russian agent to promote disinformation about the Bidens. The Washington Post reported Thursday the White House, and Trump personally, were warned in 2019 that Giuliani "was being used to feed Russian misinformation" to the President. Separately, Bannon was recently charged by the Justice Department with orchestrating a million-dollar fraud scheme and accused of deceiving thousands of donors to his nonprofit. more...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) The White House was warned in 2019 that President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani "was being used to feed Russian misinformation" to the President, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Citing conversations with four former officials familiar with the matter, the Post said that US intelligence agencies warned the White House that Giuliani "was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence" in which Trump was the intended recipient of the misinformation. The paper said the warnings were "based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter." One of the former officials told the Post that the warnings caused national security adviser Robert O'Brien to privately warn Trump that "any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia." more...

The U.S. wasn't spying on Giuliani, but on people with whom he talked, including Andrii Derkach, identified by the Treasury Department as a Russian agent.
By Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee

WASHINGTON — The CIA and other spy agencies gathered intelligence on Rudy Giuliani's dealings with alleged Russian intelligence agents last year and passed that information on to the White House, a source familiar with the matter tells NBC News. The existence of the intelligence was first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by the New York Times, both of which reported that White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien warned President Donald Trump about it. NBC News has not confirmed that detail. The Post cited four former officials while the Times relied on four current and former officials.

John Ullyot, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement that "the characterization of the meeting as described in reports is not accurate," but he did not dispute that the president was informed that his lawyer was dealing with alleged Russian agents. Spokespersons for the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment. American intelligence agencies were not spying on Giuliani, but on the people with whom he was talking, said the source, including Andrii Derkach, who has been identified by the Treasury Department as a Russian agent. That collection led them to learn about Giuliani's dealings with Derkach and other Russian operatives who wanted to feed him information attempting to discredit Democrat Joe Biden, the source said. more...

By Julian E. Barnes, Eric Schmitt and Maggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — The intelligence agencies warned the White House late last year that Russian intelligence officers were using President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani as a conduit for disinformation aimed at undermining Joe Biden’s presidential run, according to four current and former U.S. officials.

The agencies imparted the warning months before disclosing publicly in August that Moscow was trying to interfere in the election by taking aim at Biden’s campaign, officials said. Trump and Giuliani have promoted unsubstantiated claims about Biden that have aligned with Russian disinformation efforts, and Giuliani has met with a Ukrainian lawmaker who U.S. officials believe is a Russian agent.

Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, presented the warning about Giuliani to Trump in December. Two former officials gave conflicting accounts about its nature. One said the report was presented to Trump as unverified and vague, but another said the intelligence agencies had developed solid and credible information that Giuliani was being “worked over” by Russian operatives.

Trump shrugged it off, officials said, but the first former official cautioned that his reaction could have been colored in part by other information given to him not long before that appeared to back some of Giuliani’s claims about Ukraine. The specifics of that material were unclear. more...

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

(CNN) Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of President Donald Trump's personal attorney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, is urging Americans to "end this nightmare" by voting for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris. In a piece for Vanity Fair published Thursday, she called on voters to end Trump's "reign of terror" and "elect a compassionate and decent president." "I may not be able to change my father's mind, but together, we can vote this toxic administration out of office," Giuliani, who has publicly csupported Democratic candidates in past presidential elections, wrote. On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the White House was warned that Rudy Giuliani "was being used to feed Russian misinformation" to the President.

"If being the daughter of a polarizing mayor who became the president's personal bulldog has taught me anything, it is that corruption starts with 'yes-men' and women, the cronies who create an echo chamber of lies and subservience to maintain their proximity to power," Caroline Giuliani wrote. "We've seen this ad nauseam with Trump and his cadre of high-level sycophants (the ones who weren't convicted, anyway)." She accused Trump "and his enablers" of using the presidency to "stoke the injustice that already permeated our society," slammed his policies rolling back protections for the LGBTQ community, and criticized his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. more...

The president’s personal lawyer gleefully pantomimed a bow while putting on a stereotypical Chinese accent in footage he apparently posted accidentally.
Justin Baragona, Sam Stein

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was caught mocking Asians and even pantomiming a bow in video footage his team accidentally posted to his YouTube page on Wednesday. The remarks came well after Giuliani had finished interviewing former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for his podcast, Common Sense. The taping appeared to take place on Tuesday. But a version of it was also posted as a video online on Wednesday. And in that video, the editors not only kept rolling but posted that excess footage along with the Spicer interview.

For several minutes on the extended YouTube version, the screen was black and silent. Then Spicer appeared briefly only to quickly sign out, leaving Giuliani at his desk speaking with individuals off-screen, apparently unaware the camera was still recording. After a few moments of small talk with an assistant who appears to be Jayne Zirkle, an animated Giuliani started affecting a stereotypical Chinese accent while telling Zirkle that she’s “going to be the most famous model in China.” “Ah, get me Jayne Zirkle,” he said while using the accent. more...

CNN

CNN's Van Jones reacted to President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani falsely claiming people don't die of coronavirus anymore. video

By Celine Castronuovo

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates who worked with President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to collect information on political rivals, were charged Thursday with additional campaign finance crimes in connection with a company Parnas founded.

Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney general for the Southern District of New York, wrote in a letter to District Judge J. Paul Oetken that a grand jury brought forth an indictment Thursday charging Parnas and Fruman with “soliciting a foreign national to make donations and contributions in connection with federal and state elections,” as well as for “aiding and abetting the making of donations and contributions by a foreign national in connection with federal and state elections.”

The new charges come in addition to those brought in October 2019, in which the men, along with two other associates, were charged with conspiring to violate the ban on political donations and contributions by foreign nationals. Parnas and Fruman were previously charged with “conspiring to make contributions in connection with federal elections in the names of others, and with making false statements to and falsifying records to obstruct the administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”).” More...

Giuliani's payroll company got a PPP loan from a Trump-friendly bank — but lists no employees. Was it fraud?
Roger Sollenberger

A payroll company owned by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, took between $150,000 and $350,000 in taxpayer-backed emergency small business loans this spring. It's unclear what Giuliani did with the money. The loan reveals a previously unreported, 18-year-old company owned by Giuliani. A Salon investigation offers new insight into mechanisms of the former New York mayor and federal prosecutor's elaborate and purposefully obscure business, income and payment arrangements, which have reportedly been the subject of subpoenas from federal investigators in the Southern District of New York. Giuliani initially told Salon he was ignorant of the purpose of this company, which has handled payroll needs across more than 18 years and lists him as CEO. Financial experts tell Salon that one of two scenarios is likely true: Either Giuliani directly employs a number of people through this unknown company, and pays them substantial salaries, or the company misrepresented its finances to the government when it applied for the loan — which would likely constitute fraud, a felony. Independent journalist Wendy Siegelman appears to have been the first to report both the company and the loan. More...

By Shant Shahrigian - New York Daily News

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani painted a grim picture of NYC’s future — attacking everyone from his successor Bill de Blasio to participants in the Black Lives Matter movement — in a divisive and racially charged speech in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday. Harkening back to when he first ran for mayor in the late 1980s, Giuliani said, “Crime was way out of control ... You couldn’t walk at night.”We’re going in that direction right now, if we’re not already there,” he added.

Cast as a speech on restoring safety to a city reeling from a surge in violent crime, the event was light on policy and heavy on personal attacks. “It’s quite clear the worst mayor in the history of New York City is the present mayor,” said Giuliani, parroting recent remarks from President Trump, for whom he works as a personal attorney. “You listen to his ideas and his vicious attack on the police,” Giuliani continued. “People wonder why the police turned their back on him. [It’s] because he ran his campaign attacking them.” More...

For a year and a half, U.S. intelligence warned that Andriy Derkach was suspected of election interference. Yet Derkach—and his wild beliefs—kept drawing more Trumpist adherents.
The Daily Beast
Erin Banco, Sam Brodey, Spencer Ackerman, Asawin Suebsaeng

At the end of an elegant dinner in May 2019 in downtown Kyiv, Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach handed a thick packet of papers to a former senior U.S. official he’d known for years. The packet was unremarkable in its presentation, the papers clipped on the top and crunched in the corners. The packet bore no insignia, title, or index page, and did little in the way of intriguing the former U.S. official. It wasn’t until months later that the official read through the pages. What was more remarkable was that U.S. intelligence had, for over a month, warned that Derkach was a stalking horse for the Russian security services and their attempts to interfere in American politics. It was the first in a series of reports, beginning in the spring of 2019, naming Derkach as part of a broader push to upend the U.S. election once again.

Despite the odd nature of the handoff, the dinner was one of the earliest known attempts by Derkach, current and former officials say, to pass materials to Americans in an attempt to push the debunked conspiracy theories that the former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter were complicit in the siphoning of millions of dollars from the Ukrainian people and that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 election. (The latter is “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services,” according to President Donald Trump’s former point person for the region, Fiona Hill.) More...

Giuliani's payroll company got a PPP loan from a Trump-friendly bank — but lists no employees. Was it fraud?
Roger Sollenberger

A payroll company owned by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, took between $150,000 and $350,000 in taxpayer-backed emergency small business loans this spring. It's unclear what Giuliani did with the money. The loan reveals a previously unreported, 18-year-old company owned by Giuliani. A Salon investigation offers new insight into mechanisms of the former New York mayor and federal prosecutor's elaborate and purposefully obscure business, income and payment arrangements, which have reportedly been the subject of subpoenas from federal investigators in the Southern District of New York. Giuliani initially told Salon he was ignorant of the purpose of this company, which has handled payroll needs across more than 18 years and lists him as CEO. Financial experts tell Salon that one of two scenarios is likely true: Either Giuliani directly employs a number of people through this unknown company, and pays them substantial salaries, or the company misrepresented its finances to the government when it applied for the loan — which would likely constitute fraud, a felony. Independent journalist Wendy Siegelman appears to have been the first to report both the company and the loan. More...

Derkach was sanctioned this week by the U.S. Treasury Department for attempting to interfere in the upcoming U.S. elections by peddling conspiracies on Joe Biden.
Emily Shugerman - the daily beast

Faced with a U.S. Treasury Department report linking him to a Russian agent, Rudy Giuliani defended himself Saturday by claiming he had no idea that Ukrainian lawmaker and conspiracy-peddler Andriy Derkach was a foreign operative. In an interview Saturday on AM Joy, the president’s personal attorney refused to directly answer questions from interviewer Jonathan Capehart about how he could have been in the dark about Derkach’s political affiliations. “You’re a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, a former mayor of New York City, you have a national security firm,” Capehart said. “How could you not know that this person you were talking to was a known Russian agent?“

Giuliani responded by telling Capehart to “calm down,” and pivoted to a Trump team talking point about members of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team “wiping” their cell phones after investigating the president’s ties to Russia. According to the Treasury Department, Derkach was an “active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.” The Director for the National Counterintelligence and Security Center cited Derkach in August as an example of Russian-backed interference in the 2020 election. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Derkach met with Giuliani in December of last year to push the conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election. According to the Treasury Department, the two have met at least twice since then, including for an interview for Giuliani's YouTube show about the Bidens. More...

By Dave Goldiner - New York Daily News

Rudy Giuliani claimed ignorance Saturday about a Trump administration report that fingered one of the main sources of a failed smear campaign against Joe Biden as a longtime Russian intelligence agent. The Trump Treasury Department said Andriy Derkach, a major conduit of bogus dirt on Biden in Ukraine, has been on Russian premier Vladimir Putin’s payroll for a decade. But Giuliani insisted he knows nothing about the damning report.

"I (have never) seen any evidence that (Andriy Derkach) is or is not a Russian agent,' Giuliani told MSNBC. “So I don’t know anything about that.” Derkach has met with Giuliani at least three times and appeared twice on the former mayor’s YouTube show to peddle supposed scandals involving Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump and his Republican allies once hoped to gin up a damaging smear campaign about Biden using the information gleaned from Derkach and other dubious figures in the byzantine world of pro-Russian Ukraine politics. More...

By Travis Gettys

Rudy Giuliani suggested Joe Biden was cognitively impaired, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough laughed in astonishment. The former New York City mayor has become infamous for his rambling and incoherent TV appearances, and the “Morning Joe” host rolled a supercut of some of Giuliani’s lowlights as a surrogate for President Donald Trump. “I don’t understand it!” Scarborough said. “I just don’t understand why Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani and all these people who have a greatest hits package of being cognitively impaired would point to anybody else and suggest they’re cognitively impaired. We’ve been saying this for a long time. Donald Trump can’t attack Joe Biden on this issue, because for every clip they find, we can find 10 clips that make them look even more concerning.” “Who is this someone continuing to say let’s use this cognitive approach?” he added. “Because whoever it, is they are hurting the president’s campaign because it only draws attention to his own deficits that are all on tape.”

Salon also confirms Giuliani was linked to Lev Parnas by a lawyer who shared his client in a money-laundering probe
By Roger Sollenberger

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News host Ed Henry — inaccurately — on Wednesday that more Black people kill police officers in America than police officers kill Black people. Giuliani made the false claim in response to Henry's questions about the progressive "defund the police" movement. "That's a terrible, terrible overreaction to what's been created as almost a hysterical reaction to a single incident," Giuliani claimed. "And not just a single incident — some instances of police wrongdoing where they actually are unjustified in the use of force." "As the president pointed out, and as we all know logically, 99% — if not more — of police contact with the public is appropriate," said President Donald Trump's personal attorney, who advises municipalities in developing countries on how to set up emergency management systems, an operation which many legal experts view as a vehicle for corruption. "Either no use of force — or in many cases, the use of force saved their lives," Giuliani elaborated.

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Piers Morgan's live interview with Rudy Giuliani on Thursday devolved into a heated argument, that at times turned very personal, on ITV's "Good Morning Britain." Both men have been strong supporters of President Donald Trump: Morgan often writes favorable op-eds about Trump. Giuliani is the president's personal lawyer. But their views diverged Thursday. The interview went south four minutes into the 13-minute long interview when Morgan asked Giuliani about Trump's "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" tweet in reference to the nationwide protests against police brutality. (The controversial tweet was hidden by Twitter for violating its rules against glorifying violence.) Morgan pushed Giuliani to explain why Trump used the quote, to which an increasingly agitated Giuliani replied: "It isn't inflammatory, it's accurate."

By Nina dos Santos, CNN

London (CNN) When Republican lawmakers this week abruptly canceled a plan to subpoena a former Ukrainian official in their investigations into the energy firm that hired former Vice President Joe Biden's son, they said it was to allow more time for senators to receive additional briefings. But a Ukrainian magazine editor has told CNN that the target of the subpoena, Andrii Telizhenko, once offered him money to lobby US senators on behalf of pro-Russian media outlets. A former Ukrainian diplomat, Telizhenko is an ally of Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and has been an enthusiastic proponent of the debunked theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, interfered in the 2016 US elections. Telizhenko has also backed Republican claims that Trump's Democratic rival, Joe Biden, shut down an investigation into the Ukrainian gas company Burisma when his son, Hunter, served on its board. Biden has consistently denied any wrongdoing. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee called off a vote to subpoena Telizhenko earlier this week, amid accusations from Democrats that the investigation was calculated to damage Biden's presidential bid. Questions also swirled about Telizhenko's reliability as a witness -- the New York Times reported that the FBI had briefed the committee leadership with concerns that he could be spreading Russian disinformation. Telizhenko says he's the victim of a smear campaign and flatly denied to CNN he was a "Russian agent." In a development that could raise more questions about Telizhenko's reliability, Vladislav Davidzon, who runs a magazine called the Odessa Review, has told CNN that Telizhenko offered him $5,000 in 2018 to approach prominent Republicans to speak out against efforts by Kiev to curb the influence of two TV stations. CNN has reviewed a series of messages between the two men that came against the backdrop of an attempt by Ukrainian lawmakers to censure two channels, 112 and News One, for allegedly broadcasting Russian propaganda in the years following Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014. In October 2018, the same month that lawmakers voted in favor of a resolution to sanction the two stations, Telizhenko wrote to Davidzon, asking: "Have a question do you or your father have contacts with US Senators? I really need a favour for witch (sic) I can pay up to 5k." Davidzon, 35, is the son of influential US-based Russian language media owner Gregory Davidzon -- once dubbed "The Kingmaker of Little Russia" in a 2012 profile by The New York Times. After expressing concerns about how the new Ukrainian proposals could shut the broadcasters down, Telizhenko then says: "My question is is it possible to get an official comment on a Senators (Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham for example) website next week about this situation of censorship in Ukraine? Really important for me and need fast." Davidzon replies: "Ok. I have a bit of time. But not sure what I can do." Davidzon told CNN that he considered the offer of money to target senators like Graham was "improper" and never reached out to any US lawmakers as a result.

By Bruce Golding

He wanted to be “America’s mayor” a whole lot longer. Rudy Giuliani secretly asked then-New York Gov. George Pataki to cancel New York City’s 2001 mayoral election so he could remain in office following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a new book reveals. The bombshell disclosure is contained in Pataki’s upcoming memoir of 9/11, “Beyond the Great Divide: How A Nation Became A Neighborhood.” In an excerpt obtained by The Post, Pataki recalls how he attended a press conference with Giuliani and then-Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Manhattan’s Pier 92 on Sept. 24, 2001. As they began leaving, Giuliani — who a day before had been hailed as “America’s mayor” by Oprah Winfrey during a Yankee Stadium prayer service — asked Pataki for a “private meeting” and they walked into a small room to talk. Following an exchange of the “usual formalities,” Giuliani “dropped a bomb,” Pataki writes. “Governor, you have extraordinary powers to extend my term in office,” Giuliani said. Pataki’s “heart sank,” he writes, noting that he initially backed the idea of repealing term limits so Giuliani, a fellow Republican, could seek a third term, but quickly realized it was a “bad idea both as a matter of principle and politically.” He also describes Giuliani’s implicit request as a desperation move following an “off-the-radar public relations campaign” in which Giuliani’s team tried, but failed, to “influence lawmakers through the media.”

By Kara Scannell and Erica Orden, CNN

New York (CNN) Federal prosecutors are weighing new charges against associates of Rudy Giuliani in connection with a company that paid him $500,000, according to people familiar with the investigation. Prosecutors with the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York are considering whether to charge Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and at least one of his business partners with misleading potential investors for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company that paid Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, these people say. Parnas co-founded Fraud Guarantee with the idea of providing insurance to companies to protect against fraud. The scrutiny of Fraud Guarantee brings the investigation closer to Giuliani, Trump's vocal defender, and raises questions about what role the former mayor played, if any, in the marketing of the company. A lawyer for Giuliani said his client never had any conversations about investor pitches or marketing with Parnas or his business partner David Correia. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan for months have been investigating Giuliani's actions, including his efforts to oust Marie Yovanovitch, then-US ambassador to Ukraine, and push for an investigation into the son of Trump's political rival Joe Biden. Giuliani has not been accused of wrongdoing. Yovanovitch was recalled early from her position in April 2019. In the case of Fraud Guarantee, investigators have focused on the marketing pitch, specifically examining whether the men duped investors about the value of the company and how they intended to use the proceeds, the people familiar with the investigation say. FBI agents and prosecutors interviewed investors who were pitched on the company, and through subpoenas have obtained text messages and other documents related to the effort. One person with knowledge of the company has said the men spent proceeds from investors on pricey personal expenses. The new charges, if they are brought, would significantly increase the legal pressure on Parnas and Correia. Those men, plus Igor Fruman, another Parnas business associate, and Andrey Kukushkin, an associate in a marijuana venture, have been charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors with campaign finance violations relating to donations they made to US candidates. All four have pleaded not guilty.

By Vicky Ward, CNN

New York (CNN) Stored in devices seized from Lev Parnas by law enforcement, there's a 34-second cell phone video of Rudy Giuliani relishing a bullfight. There are also photos of Donald Trump's personal attorney posing with two matadors, a flamenco dancer twirling her skirt and an image of the father of Venezuela's opposition leader beside a tray of hors d'oeuvres on the lawn of a Spanish castle. The videos and photographs of Giuliani's trip to Spain, obtained exclusively by CNN, show the efforts Parnas went through to document and save a trove of information. They have aided a slow-drip campaign by Parnas' legal team to keep the indicted Giuliani associate in the limelight as he builds a defense for his indictment, and could plague Giuliani—and ultimately the President—well after impeachment has passed. Last week, Parnas and his attorney Joseph Bondy made a show of traveling to Washington and walking up to the US Senate, with cameras in tow. The two knew full well that Parnas could be turned away from the impeachment trial because he was wearing an ankle bracelet, an electronic device that violates the Senate chamber rules. The stunt came days after Parnas' lawyer released an 83-minute recording from an April 2018 Trump International Hotel fundraiser where President Donald Trump discusses firing former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, with Parnas and his estranged business partner Igor Fruman.

MORE TO COME
Members of Trump’s Ukraine team ensnared in the scandal appear to have been the biggest casualties in the Giuliani-led crusade.
By Asawin Suebsaeng White House Reporter, Erin Banco National Security Reporter

President Trump may have been acquitted by the Senate on Wednesday. But some of his allies and most prominent lieutenants are in no mood to let the Ukraine impeachment scandal go. Rudy Giuliani—Trump’s personal attorney whose Biden-related digging and controversial shadow-diplomacy led directly to this president’s impeachment—is very much in the category of Trumpworld’s unrepentant. Giuliani, for one, is planning on “ramping up” his investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden. “It’s a matter of the fair administration of justice for real,” he told The Daily Beast. Giuliani did not go into details regarding what these continued private probes would entail, but the former New York mayor wasn’t alone in his enthusiasm. In Giuliani’s quest to uncover dirt on, or provoke a Ukrainian announcement of an investigation into, the then-frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he openly collaborated with the fervently pro-Trump cable outlet One America News Network. In recent months, OAN launched a series with Giuliani in an effort to exonerate the president and implicate the Bidens in misconduct and “corruption,” with some accusations being entirely baseless and conspiracy-theory minded. This endeavor—which included a high-profile joint trip to European countries at the height of the impeachment probe, a jaunt that freaked out various senior officials in Trump’s national-security apparatus—did not end up saving the president from being impeached.

BUDS
The relationship—stretching from New York to London to Kyiv—long predated Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to discredit the evidence that played a key role in Manafort’s downfall.
By Betsy Swan

The web of connections between Donald Trump’s convicted campaign manager and an indicted man who tried to dig up dirt on his political rival runs tighter and longer than previously understood. Rudy Giuliani ally Igor Fruman and ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort have been friendly for years, two sources familiar with their relationship tell The Daily Beast. And that relationship — stretching from New York to London to Kyiv — long predated Rudy Giuliani’s wide-ranging attempts to discredit the evidence that played a key role in kicking off Manafort's political downfall and eventual incarceration. Joseph Bondy, the lawyer for Fruman associate Lev Parnas, said Manafort and Fruman were friendly for years before their respective indictments. A friend of Manafort’s, who spoke anonymously to discuss non-public matters, confirmed that Fruman and Manafort have known each other for years. He said Fruman invited Manafort to the opening party for Buddha-Bar in Kyiv many years ago, and that the two men have discussed business. Buddha-Bar opened in the summer of 2008. Bondy said the pair also spent time together in London and New York.

The billionaire oligarch is “at the dead center of the greatest corruption operation in Ukraine’s history,” said a former senior U.S. diplomat.
By Tom Winter, Ken Dilanian and Dan De Luce

In September, one month before Lev Parnas was indicted on campaign finance charges, his wife received wire transfers from a bank account in Russia. The sum was $1 million, and the source was a lawyer for Dmytro Firtash, according to a court filing by U.S. prosecutors. Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who made a fortune in the natural gas trade, is perhaps the most enigmatic figure in the scandal that has played a key role in President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

A billionaire with alleged ties to the Russian mob, Firtash is facing bribery-related charges in the U.S. and fighting extradition from Vienna. He once attempted to buy and redevelop the famous Drake Hotel in New York with the now-incarcerated Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman. And he’s seen by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and Western governments as a corrupt instrument of Russia.

Exactly why the money was sent to the wife of Parnas — the former Trump donor and Rudy Giuliani associate who has since turned on the president — is unclear. But Firtash provided key documents that Giuliani used to further his discredited claim that former Vice President Joe Biden engaged in wrongdoing in Ukraine.

By Robyn Dixon, David L. Stern and Natalie Gryvnyak

KYIV — Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian American businessman at the heart of the Trump impeachment, adopted a tone of hearty bonhomie when exchanging messages with Ukraine’s political elite, calling them “my brother” or “my friend,” or telling them “I missed you” or “I embrace you.” The Florida businessman whose family moved to the United States from the Soviet Union when he was a child, has said he was part of a multipronged effort led by former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R), to help President Trump’s reelection campaign and damage a political opponent, former vice president Joe Biden. Parnas has said he and his associate, Igor Fruman, used their deep knowledge of a Ukrainian government known for functioning on secret inside deals — a reputation it is trying to change — to support Giuliani’s efforts. The two face federal charges over alleged campaign finance violations.

Lev Parnas told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that he didn't do anything "without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president."
By Phil Helsel

Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani who has been implicated in an alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, says, "President Trump knew exactly what was going on." "He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials," Parnas, who faces campaign finance charges, told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in an interview that aired Wednesday night.

"I mean, they have no reason to speak to me. Why would President Zelenskiy's inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that's the secret that they're trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work," Parnas said. Volodymyr Zelenskiy was elected president in April, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Arsen Avakov is Ukraine's interior minister.

New York’s current mayor blasts one of his predecessors over comments made in a magazine interview.
By DAVID COHEN

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday accused one of his predecessors, Rudy Giuliani, of sinking to a new low with what he called a “particularly dangerous” “anti-Semitic rant.” De Blasio was responding to an interview in New York magazine in which Giuliani, now President Donald Trump‘s personal attorney, accused George Soros — a mega-donor to liberal causes — of acting as a shadowy puppet master. “I know Rudy Giuliani is determined to set new lows in pathetic, spineless behavior these days — but this anti-Semitic rant is particularly dangerous,” de Blasio tweeted Tuesday. “The attacks our Jewish communities have endured are fueled by this kind of loathsome hate. He’s an absolute disgrace.”

The magazine interview published Monday featured Giuliani making multiple accusations about Soros’ ability to control people and events, including various diplomats and FBI agents. “Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” Giuliani told Olivia Nuzzi. “Soros is hardly a Jew. I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about — he doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t go to religion — synagogue. He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel. He’s elected eight anarchist DA’s in the United States. He’s a horrible human being.”

Asked if the comments were made in jest, Giuliani told NBC News, "I'm more Jewish than half my friends."
By Allan Smith and Dareh Gregorian

Rudy Giuliani says he's "more of a Jew" than liberal billionaire George Soros, who survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary as a teen. In a remarkable interview with New York magazine, Giuliani, President Donald Trump's lawyer, painted Soros as a puppet master who has secretly been pulling the strings in Ukraine. Soros is a frequent target of conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the world.

"Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him," Giuliani said. "Soros is hardly a Jew. I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about — he doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t go to religion — synagogue. He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel. He’s elected eight anarchist DAs in the United States. He’s a horrible human being."

UM, WHAT?
By Emma Tucker

The president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is facing backlash after falsely stating on his Facebook page that he is a “former attorney general of the United States.” In reality, Giuliani served as U.S. associate attorney general under President Ronald Regan from 1981 to 1983. In 1975, he was named associate deputy attorney general and chief of staff to the deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice. On Tuesday, Giuliani urged Twitter users to “connect” with him on Facebook, writing, “More to come on my investigation, soon!” The page also describes Giuliani as a “government official” who served as New York City mayor and Trump’s personal attorney. Giuliani told New York Daily News reporter Chris Sommerfeldt in a response by text to the false claim on his page, “If it says AG it was a mistake should be AAG. Will change it.”

Rudolph Giuliani said in an interview that he briefed the president “a couple of times” about Marie Yovanovitch, the envoy to Ukraine, setting her recall in motion.
By Kenneth P. Vogel

WASHINGTON — Rudolph W. Giuliani said on Monday that he provided President Trump with detailed information this year about how the United States ambassador to Ukraine was, in Mr. Giuliani’s view, impeding investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump, setting in motion the ambassador’s recall from her post.

In an interview, Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, described how he passed along to Mr. Trump “a couple of times” accounts about how the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, had frustrated efforts that could be politically helpful to Mr. Trump. They included investigations involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukrainians who disseminated documents that damaged Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The president in turn connected Mr. Giuliani with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information, Mr. Giuliani said. Within weeks, Ms. Yovanovitch was recalled as ambassador at the end of April and was told that Mr. Trump had lost trust in her.

by Sonam Sheth

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who's now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, confirmed in detail to The New Yorker his role in engineering the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch as the US's ambassador to Ukraine. Giuliani told The New Yorker's Adam Entous that he viewed Yovanovitch as an obstacle as he attempted to obtain politically damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election.

"I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way," Giuliani said. "She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody." To that end, Giuliani compiled a dossier of conspiracy theories about the Bidens and Yovanovitch that he sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year and was later shared with the FBI and The New Yorker.

Giuliani also began speaking out against Yovanovitch on news outlets like Fox News, while directing John Solomon, a self-described investigative journalist who traffics in conspiracy theories, to publish op-ed articles smearing Yovanovitch in The Hill.

Giuliani actually admitted it on a phone call.
By Alex Ward

President Donald Trump’s entire impeachment mess began over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s family and Democrats with the help of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. But even as an impeachment vote in the House Judiciary Committee loomed, both men continued to coordinate on Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts on behalf of his powerful client.

Giuliani recently returned from a trip to Kyiv this month in which he interviewed local officials to learn more about Hunter Biden — Joe’s son — and his time on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. He also wanted to prove the conspiracy theory both he and Trump believe — that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

After landing in New York last Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal, the president called his attorney while the plane was still taxiing. “What did you get?” Trump asked, according to the Journal’s Friday interview with Giuliani. “More than you can imagine,” the former New York City mayor replied, noting he would be putting his findings in a 20-page report.

One almost has to respect (while remaining appalled at) how brazen Giuliani’s admission is here. He’s openly telling the Wall Street Journal that his anti-Biden investigation in Ukraine continues, and that Trump is still interested in knowing about it.

By Jonathan Chait

President Trump is facing impeachment primarily for abusing his power for political gain, extorting a foreign country to discredit his political rivals. The secondary aspect of the plot is that the target of his extortion is hardly random. Ukraine is the victim of Russian aggression, and Russia’s continuing incursions into Ukrainian territory is the muscle that gave Trump’s threats leverage. Trump’s domestic interests are one intended beneficiary of his scheme. The other is Vladimir Putin.

Trump and his allies insist he has actually pursued a hawkish line in Ukraine. “Mr. Trump didn’t withhold military aid to Ukraine, and even if he had he would have merely been returning to Barack Obama’s policy of denying lethal aid,” argues a Wall Street Journal editorial. “No one has done more to limit Russia’s ability to engage in mischief than President Trump,” insists Representative Matt Gaetz in a Fox News segment retweeted by the president.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors charged yesterday evening that Lev Parnas, an associate of President Trump who represented him in Ukraine, was wired $1 million from a Russian bank account weeks before his arrest. Which is to say, Trump’s Ukraine plot appears to have been financed by Russia.

Parnas met repeatedly with Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Parnas claims Trump pulled him aside at last year’s White House Hanukkah party and personally directed his activities in Ukraine. That allegation remains unproven. What is proven, though, is that Parnas met with Trump numerous times (there are photographs), was Giuliani’s official business partner, and represented himself to Ukrainians as an agent of both Trump and Giuliani.

By Christian Berthelsen

Rudy Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas got $1 million from an account in Russia in September, a month before he was charged with conspiring to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, according to U.S. prosecutors who asked a judge to jail him for understating his income and assets.

“The majority of that money appears to have been used on personal expenses and to purchase a home,” prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday. Parnas failed to disclose the payment to the government, prosecutors said.

The payment raises provocative new questions about the nature of the work Parnas and his associate Igor Fruman were doing and who they were doing it for. Much about what they did remains unclear.

The pair was charged, in part, with working on behalf of one or more Ukrainian government officials to seek the removal of then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

By Marshall Cohen

Washington (CNN) The Justice Department inspector general continues to investigate potential leaks by FBI officials in New York to President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani before the 2016 election. Inspector General Michael Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing, and is broader than just Giuliani, but suggested his team was struggling to prove that there were illegal leaks.

Shortly before the election, Giuliani claimed that he heard about big problems coming soon for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. That was shortly before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was reopening the criminal probe into Clinton's email server, which didn't lead to any criminal charges. The polls shifted after Comey's comments, and Clinton has said it was a main reason for her defeat. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont noted on Wednesday that Comey previously confirmed to him that the matter was under investigation, and asked Horowitz for an update about FBI "leaks to Rudolph Giuliani and others."

Horowitz replied, "we were very concerned about that," and he noted that he mentioned some of those potentially improper contacts in the report he put out last year reviewing the Clinton email probe.

The president's lawyer went to Ukraine to discredit impeachment with a parallel narrative, but corruption fighters know his "witnesses" have little or no credibility.
by Anna Nemtsova

KYIV, Ukraine—The witnesses stand, with their right hands raised, as if being sworn in for, well, an impeachment hearing. Only this is not in Congress. The cast of obscure Ukrainians—a group seen at home as odious and discredited—are appearing in a television show with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, in what he casts as an investigation that parallels the process in Congress.

It would only be credible in a parallel world. Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat, has been helping Giuliani produce the show for OAN, the One America News Network, a conservative channel now favored by Trump. OAN is publicizing the two-part broadcast this weekend, promising “witnesses who destroy [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff’s baseless impeachment case against President Trump.”

“Watch top Ukrainian officials testify under oath the side of the story Schiff doesn’t want you to hear,” proclaims the YouTube promo for the broadcast.

But “top officials” they definitely are not. Indeed, Giuliani’s choice of guest stars in his would-be reality show, and his wider cast of sources, caused shock among many in Kyiv’s establishment who know their questionable backgrounds in considerable detail.

Posting from somewhere in Ukraine, Trump’s lawyer tweets the quid pro quo.
By Aaron Rupar

President Donald Trump and his Republican defenders in the House continue to argue there was no “quid pro quo” with Ukraine (despite a White House call summary and testimony from numerous Trump officials indicating otherwise).

It took Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, all of two tweets to blast that talking point to smithereens.

On Thursday, Giuliani — apparently posting from somewhere in Kiev, where he’s currently traveling as part of his ongoing international effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens — posted tweets explicitly acknowledging a link between ongoing US assistance to Ukraine and investigations into the Biden family.

“The conversation about corruption in Ukraine was based on compelling evidence of criminal conduct by then VP Biden, in 2016, that has not been resolved and until it is will be a major obstacle ... to the US assisting Ukraine with its anti-corruption reforms,” Giuliani claimed, despite the fact that no such evidence has emerged.

In short, Giuliani tweeted the quid pro quo.

Top administration officials have been tracking Giuliani’s venture through Europe, wondering if he’s going to cause yet another major headache for the president.
By Asawin Suebsaeng White House Reporter, Erin Banco National Security Reporter

Rudy Giuliani’s decision to travel to multiple European countries this week, during the height of an impeachment probe involving his client President Trump, was so startling to senior administration officials and national security brass that they began tracking his movements in an effort to get a read on his objectives abroad.

Other officials in the West Wing and numerous Trump associates learned about his latest foreign adventure, which included a stop in Ukraine, by reading the news. Many of them expressed exasperation at the thought of Giuliani—himself reportedly in the crosshairs of federal investigators—continuing to cause headaches for the White House. Others feared he would cause tangible damage to U.S. foreign policy.

“I do not see why [any] lawyer would see this as serving the best interests of their client,” said a senior White House official. “Especially now.” Senior U.S. officials in the State Department and in the national security apparatus were concerned that Giuliani was speaking with politicians in both Budapest and Kiev who have interests in domestic American politics. According to five sources with knowledge of the situation, there is renewed fear that the president’s lawyer is still shopping for dirt about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as well as speaking with foreign officials who, against all evidence, have promoted the idea that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The concerns about Giuliani’s trip to Kiev were so pronounced that they reached officials close to President Volodymyr Zelensky, who were advised by Americans and politicians in Ukraine not to meet with Giuliani when he was in town, according to an individual familiar with those conversations.

The president’s attorney, who has been defiant in the face of criticism for his prior efforts to target the Bidens, was similarly unmoved by the idea that his current expedition was both unseemly and unwise.

“I would hope they have more important things to do than intrude on the work being done by a lawyer defending his client against another set of false and contrived charges,” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Wednesday, while still overseas.

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN)Rudy Giuliani traveled to Hungary and Ukraine this week to meet with several former Ukrainian prosecutors in an effort to defend President Donald Trump against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The Times, citing conversations with people familiar with the matter, said the President's personal attorney went to Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday to meet with former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, before going to Kyiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday to meet with a number of other former prosecutors in the country, including Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk.

Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney and a key player in the President's dealings with Ukraine, traveled to speak with the former prosecutors for a documentary series meant to bolster unproven and debunked claims of corruption at the heart of the probe. The ex-prosecutors have "all played some role in promoting claims" about former Vice President Joe Biden, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, the paper said. Those claims have been key to Trump and Giuliani's efforts to get Ukraine to announce investigations into matters that would benefit the President's 2020 reelection effort, according to House impeachment investigators. When asked about the trip, Giuliani's spokeswoman Christianné Allen said his work was "still confidential."

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