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Rudy Giuliani from Prince to Minion to Villain to Russian Asset Page 4

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.

By Johnny Dwyer - The Intercept

Rudy Giuliani secured a dubious distinction earlier this month when he became the second known ex-U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York to face investigation by his former office. The news followed a succession of incriminating allegations against Giuliani. The sources of these leaks are not public, but the information behind them comes from the U.S. Attorney’s office, where Giuliani himself introduced the media leak as one of the most devastating tools in a prosecutor’s arsenal. The fact that Giuliani — who has advocated a distinct brand of lawlessness as President Donald Trump’s TV lawyer — merits the attention of federal investigators only emphasizes the through-the-looking-glass quality of Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice. The only other Southern District U.S. Attorney to be implicated in a potential crime by his own office was Morton S. Robson, who was accused of receiving a bribe from Roy Cohn to drop a case. (The prosecutor was never charged and Cohn was acquitted.) More recently, New York City’s most famous former mayor has provided the president legal advocacy that suggests a contempt for the laws he once enforced. There was the time he said that alleged campaign finance violations are “not a big crime” because “nobody got robbed. Nobody got killed.” Or when he confessed Trump’s role in a conspiracy that involved “funneling” $130,000 through a law firm to pay off Stormy Daniels, the porn star with whom Trump allegedly had an affair. Or the times he floated pardons for Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.

Indeed, Giuliani’s entire post-government life has provided a case study in ethical adventurism, if not actual criminal conduct. Among the many clients for whom he did political consulting was Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, whose father, a previous Peruvian president, was convicted of ordering the extrajudicial execution of 15 people. Fujimori lost both her campaigns for the presidency; she was named in the Panama Papers as a client of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the document leak, and accused of funding her political career through money laundering and bribes. Giuliani also consulted for Aleksandar Vucic, a mayoral candidate in Belgrade, Serbia, who once served as the information minister to accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic. Vucic eventually won the Serbian presidency and the Trump White House sent a delegation to attend his inauguration. Last year, Vucic’s political party opened an office on the site of Staro Sajmiste, a concentration and extermination camp run by the Nazis during their World War II occupation of Belgrade. (In 1989, a Holocaust survivor charged by Giuliani’s prosecutors was placed opposite a blackboard inside the U.S. Attorney’s office with the slogan “arbeit macht frei.” The man was acquitted, and the judge in the case did not find evidence of Giuliani’s involvement in what the suspect described as an effort to pressure him to cooperate with federal investigators.) Giuliani’s post-government work eventually brought him into direct conflict with Southern District prosecutors when he represented Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader charged with evading U.S. sanctions. The case raised immediate diplomatic issues, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressing both the Obama and Trump administrations to release Zarrab. Giuliani did not intend to appear for his client at trial, according to his co-counsel; his role was to pursue an outside resolution to the case.

That ultimately involved Trump seeking to enlist then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to ask the Justice Department to drop charges against Zarrab, as Bloomberg first reported last week. To break that down: Giuliani sought help for a Turkish-backed client accused of violating Iranian sanctions from a president who has a one-word policy for dealing with Tehran: sanctions. In the end, Zarrab pleaded guilty. After Erdogan embarrassed Trump last week by attacking Kurdish-held northern Syria, the Southern District announced new charges against a Turkish state-owned bank connected to the gold trader. But it was Giuliani’s work in Ukraine that crossed whatever invisible line had existed between the former U.S. attorney and federal investigators in the Southern District and placed him at the center of the House impeachment inquiry. The rapidly unspooling narrative connects Giuliani to efforts to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden, presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, as well as, oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a career diplomat. Yovanovitch testified before the House earlier this month that “individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.” She was presumably referring to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were recently indicted on the very same charges that Giuliani once called “not a big crime”: campaign finance violations stemming from their alleged efforts to funnel foreign cash into U.S. campaign coffers. Giuliani acknowledged receiving $500,000 in payments from a company called Fraud Guarantee, where Parnas serves as CEO. Federal investigators have also subpoenaed former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, for information related to his involvement with Giuliani. Sessions reportedly received a campaign contribution from the Ukrainians and shortly after meeting the men, sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for Yovanovitch to be removed from her post. Giuliani, for his part, defied a subpoena from House investigators working the impeachment inquiry. more...

Wikipedia - Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are associates of Rudy Giuliani who have aided him with his search in Ukraine for detrimental information on President Donald Trump's political opponents. This included looking for evidence for a narrative to counter Mueller's Special Counsel investigation and information on former Vice President Joe Biden. Both individuals are Soviet-born Florida real estate businessmen and American citizens. As a result of their activities, they are central figures in the Trump–Ukraine scandal.

By Kevin McCoy USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Two defendants in the campaign finance conspiracy case that has ensnared associates of President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, are scheduled for arraignment Thursday. David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin are scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court for an initial conference before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Oetken. The hearing for co-defendants Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Giuliani associates who helped the former New York City mayor seek damaging information in Ukraine on the son of former vice president and 2020 rival Joe Biden has been postponed to Oct. 23rd. A federal indictment unsealed last week accuses the four of illegally funneling thousands of dollars in foreign money to U.S. candidates and committees in a conspiracy to buy influence and boost their business ventures. The funding, some of it disguised through so-called straw donors, was aimed at boosting the campaigns of Trump-supporting candidates and political action committees, advancing the political interests of a Ukrainian government official and bankrolling a planned cannabis retail business. Some of the funds secretly came from a Russian businessman who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a legal permanent resident, the indictment alleged. Correia, 44, is the only suspect who was born in the United States, the indictment said. Both Parnas and Kukushkin are 46-year-old U.S. citizens who were born in Ukraine, while Fruman, 53, is a U.S. citizen who was born in Belarus, the indictment said. Kukushkin was ordered held on a $1 million bond following his Oct. 10 arrest in San Francisco.

Correia surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning after arriving at JFK International Airport in New York City. At a brief court hearing afterward, Correia's lawyer, Jeffrey Marcus, said his client had been traveling in the Middle East when the indictment was unsealed. Correia contacted U.S. authorities to arrange his return and surrender, Marcus said. Correia was released on a $250,000 bond. Parnas and Fruman have been held on bonds of $1 million each since they were arrested last week at Dulles International Airport in Virginia with one-way tickets on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany. The case poses potential political and legal issues for Trump, as well as possible legal problems for Giuliani. A Parnas-Fruman company, Global Energy Producers, was credited with giving $325,000 to a pro-Trump political action committee in May 2018. However, the indictment said financial records showed that the money came via a circuitous route through a loan transaction linked to Fruman. During the same month as the contribution, Parnas posted photos on Facebook of him and Fruman with President Trump in the White House and with Donald Trump Jr. in California. Stressing that he has taken photos with many people, Trump said he did not know Parnas and Fruman. However, he also suggested that they might have been clients of Giuliani. In a tweet, Giuliani referred to the men as his clients.

Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, seems to lay a lot of blame at Rudy Giuliani’s feet.
By Alex Ward

One of the main players under investigation in the House impeachment inquiry used his opening testimony to lawmakers Thursday to throw Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, under the bus. Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, delivered an 18-page written statement to congressional investigators in advance of hours of questioning. He’ll be asked about the Trump administration’s effort to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into Joe Biden’s family in exchange for US military aid and a meeting between the two countries’ presidents.

Trump falsely believes Biden used his power as vice president to stop a corruption probe into Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company Hunter Biden — Joe’s son — sat on the board of. Sondland is a key figure in the drama, as text messages revealed earlier this month showed the ambassador working with Giuliani and top US officials to coordinate the White House’s Ukraine policy. But his main message to Congress in his prepared opening statement was that he had merely aimed to faithfully execute the administration’s policy involving normal, non-corrupt relations with Ukraine. The only one pushing anything about Burisma, Sondland claims, was Giuliani. Sondland also claims Giuliani clearly tied a possible meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Ukraine opening a probe into Burisma as part of a “deliverable” Trump wanted from the country.

Importantly, however, Sondland doesn’t say Trump himself purposefully did anything wrong. But the main narrative is that Sondland is innocent of any wrongdoing and that anything inappropriate came from Giuliani — likely in hopes that the former New York City mayor gets a nice view of a public transport vehicle’s underside. Trump wanted Giuliani to help lead Ukraine policy: Sondland makes the case that Trump wanted Giuliani intimately involved in carrying out the administration’s Ukraine policy. Sondland describes a May 23 meeting he and other US officials had with Trump and his aides about organizing a phone call and meeting between Trump and Zelensky.

“President Trump was skeptical that Ukraine was serious about reforms and anti-corruption, and he directed those of us present at the meeting to talk to Mr. Giuliani, his personal attorney, about his concerns,” Sondland says. Sondland says that those in the meeting — including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and then-Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker — didn’t like that, as they wanted Ukraine policy to remain in official channels. But, the ambassador explains, they all chose to comply with the president’s command. “Based on the President’s direction, we were faced with a choice: We could abandon the goal of a White House meeting for President Zelensky, which we all believed was crucial to strengthening US-Ukrainian ties and furthering long-held US foreign policy goals in the region; or we could do as President Trump directed and talk to Mr. Giuliani to address the President’s concerns. We chose the latter path,” Sondland said. This is important: Sondland is testifying that Trump explicitly delegated Ukrainian policy to Giuliani.

And the only way to get the Trump-Zelensky meeting Sondland and others wanted was to work with the president’s personal lawyer on the president’s concerns — otherwise, they would have to “abandon” any hopes of a meeting. And, as Sondland lays out, those “concerns” involved the Bidens. Giuliani emphasizes that Burisma is important to Trump: Describing a set of short phone conversations with Giuliani starting in May, “Mr. Giuliani emphasized that the President wanted a public statement from [Ukrainian] President Zelensky committing Ukraine to look into anti-corruption issues,” Sondland testified. “Mr. Giuliani specifically mentioned the 2016 election (including the DNC server) and Burisma as two anticorruption investigatory topics of importance for the President.” Sondland then adds: “Mr. Giuliani does not work for me or my Mission and I do not know what official or unofficial role, if any, he has with the State Department.”

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are examining Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine business dealings, including his bank records, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. The people familiar told the paper that witnesses have been questioned by investigators since at least August about Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

Part of the questioning involves any potential role Giuliani played in an alleged conspiracy involving two of his business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were indicted on campaign finance-related charges last week. CNN previously reported that Giuliani's financial dealings with Parnas and Fruman were under scrutiny by investigators, according to law enforcement officials briefed on the matter. But news of federal prosecutors examining Giuliani's bank records and business dealings in Ukraine brings into focus the level of scrutiny facing Giuliani over his involvement with Ukraine.

The Journal's report builds on reporting from The New York Times last week that Giuliani is facing an investigation by federal prosecutors into whether his involvement with Ukraine violated federal lobbying laws. Giuliani told CNN on Monday that he was unsure if prosecutors were looking into his work with the mayor of Kharkiv, with whom he had met on a December 2017 trip as part of his international consulting business. "It was a security report focusing on an emergency management center which was concluded in (December) or so 2017. I have no knowledge they are looking at it but let them. Maybe they should ask me instead of leaking it (if they are doing it) and I can save them unnecessary work," Giuliani said.

The Southern District of New York is examining Giuliani's bank records and work for the mayor of Kiev as part of a probe into the Trump lawyer's Ukraine business dealings.
By Alison Durkee

Things just keep getting worse for Rudy Giuliani. As the Trump lawyer becomes further embroiled in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Giuliani's personal business practices beyond his work for the president have also come under legal scrutiny—and reportedly have been for some time. As part of an investigation into Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine, federal prosecutors at the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York have already examined Giuliani's bank records, the Journal reports, and have been interviewing witnesses about Giuliani since at least August.

The Journal's report comes after previous reports indicated that federal prosecutors were investigating Giuliani's business relationship with Soviet-born clients Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested Wednesday for alleged campaign finance violations. While the Journal notes that prosecutors are interested in that relationship, their investigation into Giuliani also has a broader focus on his business in Ukraine, which began after the former New York mayor's failed 2008 presidential primary bid. Giuliani first became a strategic adviser to boxer Vitali Klitschko (also known as “Dr. Iron Fist”), who was elected as mayor of Kiev in 2014, before going on to do business in Kiev and Kharkiv, Ukraine, through his private security business Giuliani Security & Safety.

The company reached a deal in May 2017 with Kharkiv's city administration to assist with the municipal emergency services, and Giuliani met with a number of top officials during his visits to Ukraine, including former President Petro Poroshenko and former Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. In addition to his work with Klitschko, the Journal reports that witnesses have been questioned about Giuliani's role in the departure of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, whose May firing following Giuliani's pressure campaign for her ouster is seen as one of the origins of the ongoing Ukraine scandal. The full scope of the inquiry is not yet known, and the Journal notes that it's unclear how far along prosecutors are in the investigation. True to form, however, Giuliani doesn't yet seem to be so concerned. “They can look at my Ukraine business all they want,” Giuliani told the Journal, saying he hadn't been informed of any investigation against him. (The lawyer has denied any wrongdoings in his business dealings.)

Law enforcement sources told The Daily Beast scrutiny of Giuliani is just “common sense” after the arrest of his associates.
By Allison Quinn

Rudy Giuliani’s lobbying work is said to be under scrutiny by the same U.S. attorney’s office he once led. The New York Times reported late Friday that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking into whether Donald Trump’s personal attorney violated lobbying laws as part of his Ukraine endeavors. While Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of his arrested earlier this week for alleged campaign finance violations, are believed to have worked closely with him in investigating the widely debunked corruption allegations against Joe Biden that Giuliani and Trump have sought to revive ahead of 2020. Several law enforcement sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that Giuliani’s dealings are under scrutiny in connection with Parnas and Fruman’s arrest. “It's common sense,” one person with knowledge of the inquiry into Giuliani told The Daily Beast. “If people didn't look into this, they wouldn't be doing their jobs.” A second Justice Department source echoed that sentiment, along with a federal law enforcement official who said the matter is part of an ongoing investigation. Giuliani’s work in Ukraine has previously raised questions about his lobbying status, with several Democratic senators appealing to the Department of Justice last year for information on his Foreign Agents Registration Act filings, a legal requirement for any U.S. citizen making contact with the government or media at the request of foreign politicians or officials.

By Sonam Sheth and Sarah Gray

Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York are investigating whether Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer and the former mayor of New York, broke laws governing foreign lobbying, The New York Times reported Friday night. The investigation is related to his work with Ukraine; two sources familiar with the investigation told The Times that investigators are looking into his role in the recall of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch, who has been a foreign service officer for 33 years and was removed this spring before her post was up.

Yovannovitch appeared for a nine-hour, closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill related to an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. In her opening statement, which was released by Politico, she said that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told her she "had done nothing wrong" and said there was a "concerted campaign' to remove her, and that the department had been "under pressure from the President to remove [her] since Summer of 2018." Earlier this week, two of Giuliani's associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested on suspicion of trying to funnel foreign money into a pro-Trump super PAC and other entities to gain leverage in US political circles.

Prosecutors also allege Parnas and Fruman tried to influence US-Ukraine relations. It was previously reported that prosecutors are examining Giuliani's relationship with the men. Giuliani has admitted that he sought dirt on political adversaries including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, along with Yovanovitch — and he had contact with former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. This information was allegedly shared with a columnist and government officials. "Federal law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation," The New York Times reported. However, Giuliani denies any wrongdoing.

"Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko's behalf when I was representing the president of the United States," he told The Times. Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine are already under scrutiny.

Republicans and Democrats familiar with the closed-door testimony in the House impeachment inquiry tell Axios that Rudy Giuliani and his Ukraine activity has been a unifying thread for the witnesses. The other side: White House sources say that they're increasingly pulling their hair out because of him. Our big takeaway: While Democrats say that everything they’ve heard so far has only helped them, nothing in the depositions so far appears to have moved any Republicans closer to impeachment. What to watch: How much longer can the committees sustain this pace? Fatigue is appearing on both sides. Pelosi quote du jour: "We were sending that military assistance because of Ukraine needing that vis-à-vis Russia.

All roads seem to lead to Putin with the president though, isn’t it so?"  What we're watching: House Dems began discussing the possibility of summoning acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, per the WashPost. "Three amigos": Career State Department official George Kent testified that he was told by administration officials to "lay low" on Ukraine as "three amigos" tied to the White House took over U.S. foreign policy toward the Eastern European ally, AP reports.
“I have a feeling that chapter isn’t closed," David Correia tweeted in January 2017.
By Miriam Elder, Jane Lytvynenko

David Correia, a Florida businessperson who was arrested at JFK Airport on Wednesday as part of an investigation into associates of Rudy Giuliani, had spoken publicly as far back as January 2017 about Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son Hunter. “i assume the day your son took his position in Ukraine was also a great moment?” Correia tweeted at Biden on Jan. 22, 2017, according to a cache of his now-deleted Twitter account. “I have a feeling that chapter isn’t closed.” The tweet came days after President Donald Trump was inaugurated. Correia, along with Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, and Andrey Kukushkin, was named in an indictment unsealed last week that alleged the four men committed fraud and circumvented campaign finance laws to funnel foreign money to a pro-Trump super PAC.

All four men have now been arrested. Parnas and Fruman are known associates of Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer working for Trump, and spent lavishly as they traveled the world hunting for information on Biden, a potential presidential rival for Trump in the 2020 election. Parnas, Fruman, Kukushkin, and Correia “conspired to make political donations — funded by Foreign National-1 — to politicians and candidates for federal and State office to gain influence with candidates as to policies that would benefit a future business venture,” according to the indictment. Correia has been associated with Parnas since at least 2012, the Miami Herald reported. His 2017 tweet offers a glimpse into how the Ukraine obsession that eventually consumed Giuliani was already bubbling in certain circles from the moment Trump became president.

Correia, 44, describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur” on his LinkedIn and is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He is listed as a cofounder, alongside Parnas, of Fraud Guarantee, a Boca Raton–based company that paid Giuliani $500,000. Other cached pages from Correia’s Twitter show him retweeting John Solomon, the former Hill columnist who pushed the narrative that forms the basis for Giuliani’s baseless theory that Biden ordered the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor general who was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company on whose board his son Hunter had a seat. No such investigation was active, but Biden's son admitted in an interview Tuesday that it was “poor judgment” to take on the role. Other caches show him engaging with people trolling Giuliani on Twitter. In one tweet, he calls Giuliani “the greatest mayor and US attorney ever.”

Is Giuliani the next shoe to drop in the scandals enveloping the White House?
By Pema Levy

President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is now in prison. As Ukrainegate unfolds, it’s possible that his new personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, may also be facing federal criminal charges. Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine, according to a New York Times report Friday night. The Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) requires anyone who is attempting to influence United States policy on behalf of a foreign entity to register with the Justice Department and submit details of activities on behalf of that country, regardless of whether direct lobbying is involved.

Giuliani joined Trump’s personal legal team to protect him from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, in a twist befitting the Trump era, he appears to be under investigation for bringing foreign influence into US politics. Giuliani is at the center of the unfolding Ukraine scandal that prompted the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Giuliani acted as a go-between for Ukrainian officials and the Trump administration to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, and dug around for evidence to bolster a conspiracy theory that Ukraine had tried to help the Democrats win the 2016 election—even though the US intelligence community and Mueller’s probe found that Russia interfered to help Trump.

But the possible criminal investigation into FARA violations comes from a sideshow to this central Ukraine scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry: whether Giuliani failed to report his foreign ties when he worked to oust the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled from Kiev this spring after Giuliani and two associates pressed for her removal. Those two associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested this week on charges of illegally funneling foreign money into US elections.

By Adam K. Raymond and Matt Stieb

Just two weeks after hiring Rudy Giuliani to serve as his personal attorney, the former New York mayor appeared on Sean Hannity’s show and contradicted several of his client’s key claims in a performance so bonkers that Fox News hosts deemed it “a problem.” Though this incident and subsequent gaffe-filled media spots reportedly left Trump “furious,” no one reeled Giuliani in. And for whatever reason, Giuliani’s appalling public comments — like when he acknowledged in May that some might find his efforts to make Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rivals “improper” — had few immediate consequences. So, as reports of a mysterious whistle-blower complaint began to blot out all other news in Washington, the Trump administration stuck with this de facto strategy.

Giuliani embarked on an especially unhinged media blitz that has seen him lob insults at journalists, pretend to be a robot, proclaim himself “the real whistle-blower.” Here are the highlights. September 19: Giuliani’s CNN meltdown: In a painful, tense, and altogether unwatchable 28-minute interview with Chris Cuomo, Giuliani promoted allegations of corruption against Joe Biden, whom Trump and his allies say pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor to benefit Biden’s son, Hunter. Naturally, the version of this story that Giuliani and Trump are telling is full of holes and outright lies. As Cuomo pointed out these problems to Giuliani, the former New York City mayor contorted his face and called the CNN host names. He also denied asking Ukraine to investigate Biden 30 seconds before he admitted asking Ukraine to investigate Biden. September 22: Giuliani retreats to friendly territory, faces unfriendly questions: A few days later, Giuliani appeared on Fox News, perhaps hoping for better treatment on Trump’s favorite news network.

He didn’t get it. In an interview on Fox News Sunday, John Roberts asked Giuliani about contradicting himself on CNN and the broader impropriety of his mission in Ukraine. “How is your coverage so distorted?” the former mayor shot back, later accusing Robert of being “really unfair.” September 24: Giuliani tells fellow panelist to “shut up, moron” It didn’t take long for Giuliani to forgive Fox. On Tuesday, he joined Laura Ingraham, one of the network’s more reliable Trump defenders, who gave him a platform to clean up the mess he’d made the previous few days. In a rambling interview, Giuliani invoked Tammany Hall, referred to himself as a humble “country lawyer,” and claimed that the State Department asked him to conduct the investigation in Ukraine (the White House’s own summary of Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president disputes that). The most unhinged moment of Giuliani’s appearance came when he blew up at liberal radio host Christopher Hahn, calling him a “moron” and an “idiot.”

The president’s lawyer has baffled a lot of people with his recent behavior. Perhaps his social-media habits can explain why.
By Will Sommer

When Rudy Giuliani logs into Twitter, he’s presented with a world where the recent California power outages were staged by military operatives rooting out cannibal-pedophiles deep in their underground bunkers. It’s a place where President Donald Trump only betrayed the Kurds because they were running black sites for a global deep-state cabal; where former Trump Russia adviser Fiona Hill ran an anti-Trump spy ring out of the White House; where former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta eats children; and where the pope is about to seize world power, and maybe already has.  It is the worst that the right-wing internet fever swamp has to offer, and it is all right there, waiting for Giuliani to consume.

With the president’s personal lawyer now in hot water for helping to orchestrate an apparent pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian leadership to launch investigations beneficial to Trump’s domestic political needs, the question being routinely asked is what compelled him to act in these ways. To answer that question, it’s worth examining the dozen of hardcore conspiracy theory accounts that populate Giuliani’s Twitter timeline. Giuliani, after all, has become a fairly regular user of the platform, having posted to it more than 1,000 times and routinely favoriting content during the course of any given day. But he only follows 224 people (as of Wednesday). A good chunk of those follows are conventional Trumpworld figures, including the president himself (Trump was Giuliani’s earliest follow), Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton, opinion writer John Solomon, and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka.

But many of those 224 dabble in far darker realms of the far-right conspiracy theory internet than the usual rantings of a Fox News primetime broadcast. For instance, Giuliani follows writer Ella Cruz—the author of an Amazon self-published book called Ring of the Cabal: The Secret Government of The Royal Papal Banking Cabal, which alleges that the New World Order will soon impose the “mark of the beast” on all humanity. In August, Cruz tweeted at Giuliani, warning him that Hillary Clinton murdered pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. Though Giuliani doesn’t often RT or even like the content produced by the people he follows his taste for conspiracy theories does occasionally shine through, such as in August, when he quote-tweeted conspiracy theorist Matt Couch, a prolific promoter of the baseless idea that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered by Hillary Clinton.

Couch has become so vocal in his attacks on the Rich family that Rich’s brother filed a defamation suit against him. Giuliani promoted a tweet from Couch questioning the police narrative about Rich’s 2016 murder, and later told The Daily Beast there are “legitimate questions” about the investigation. Giuliani follows a number of accounts that promote the QAnon conspiracy, which alleges that Trump is engaged in a secret war against cannibal-pedophiles in the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and Wall Street. Nearly 5 percent of the accounts that Giuliani follows have explicit QAnon references permanently on their Twitter pages, either in the form of pinned tweets, Twitter names, bios, or header images. Many more of them frequently tweet and retweet QAnon messages from popular promoters of the conspiracy theory. Several accounts Giuliani follows recently retweeted a video, shot in a dimly lit, anonymous living room, starring a man claiming that Navy SEALs and Marines had recently rescued “2,100 children from California Underground bases.” There is no evidence that this is actually true.

Other accounts that Giuliani follows are prone to promoting a wild potpourri of various conspiracy theory claims. Among them are that Barack Obama is engineering the Trump impeachment process to install Michelle Obama in the White House, or that Hillary Clinton plans to kill off each Democratic presidential candidate so she can become president herself. Others allege that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg secretly died months ago, but that her death is being covered up. Taken together, the accounts circle around a few popular right-wing targets: the Clintons, the Obamas, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Several accounts Giuliani follows recently claimed, without any proof, that Omar had donned a disguise to take part in a gathering of left-wing antifascist activists. Another promoted a long-discredited idea that a photograph proves Omar attended a terrorist training camp (in fact, the picture was taken years before Omar was even born).

By Zack Budryk

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said President Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine corruption concerns with Rudy Giuliani in the spring, according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Perry told the news outlet that he reached out to Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, to ask for help in arranging a meeting between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. Perry told the newspaper that he and other officials, including former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, had urged Trump to meet with Zelensky shortly after he took office, but Trump expressed reservations, citing the country’s history of political corruption, and told Perry to “visit with Rudy.”

And as I recall the conversation, he said, ‘Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,’ ” Perry told the newspaper. “ ‘He thinks they’re corrupt and ... that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt.’ ” Perry said that in his conversation with Giuliani, the attorney cited baseless claims, which have frequently been mentioned by Trump, including that Ukraine was in possession of Hillary Clinton’s email server, had fabricated evidence against Trump’s ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and was responsible for a former British spy’s dossier alleging that Russia had compromising information on Trump. “I don’t know whether that was crap or what,” Perry said, “but I’m just saying there were three things that he said. That’s the reason the president doesn’t trust these guys.” Perry said Giuliani “didn’t say they gotta do X, Y and Z. He just said, ‘You want to know why he ain’t comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here’s the reason.’ ”

By Evan Perez, Sara Murray and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN

(CNN) - For months, investigators looking into Rudy Giuliani's business dealings in Ukraine have dug into everything from possible financial entanglements with alleged corrupt Ukrainian figures to counterintelligence concerns raised by some of those business ties, according to people briefed on the matter. The counterintelligence part of the investigation indicates that FBI and criminal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking at a broader set of issues related to Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, than has been previously reported. Kenneth McCallion, a New York attorney, says that investigators first approached him earlier this year to ask about Giuliani's ties to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates indicted last week on campaign-finance related charges.

McCallion says FBI counterintelligence agents in February or March asked questions about some of Giuliani's Ukrainian business dealings. The counterintelligence probe hinges in part on whether a foreign influence operation was trying to take advantage of Giuliani's business ties in Ukraine and with wealthy foreigners to make inroads with the White House, according to one person briefed on the matter. "I was just asked whether I or any of my clients knew of any dealings that these two guys had with Giuliani," McCallion said. "They were on the radar with regard to possible counterintelligence issues." The indictment announced last week centers on ties between the Giuliani associates and foreigners, including a Russian national with whom they did business. The indictment doesn't mention Giuliani. Giuliani has said he is unaware of any criminal investigation into his business dealings. McCallion, who first spoke to USA Today, has represented Ukrainian clients, including the former Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

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