Fear and loathing rises in the land of previous guy. The raid on Giuliani’s apartment and office netted the Feds 10 devices, laptops and phones.
According to the Trump adviser, the (Giuliani) raid ignited a sense of fear inside the former President's orbit that Justice Department officials may be more willing to pursue investigations of the 45th president or his inner circle than many Trump allies had previously believed. Two other people close to the former President, who echoed these sentiments, declined to be quoted for this story.New York State Attorney General Letitia James is currently conducting a civil probe into allegations that the Trump Organization improperly inflated and deflated the value of its assets for tax purposes. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
“I can't for the life of me think why you would need to send seven FBI agents to go and collect a cellphone and laptop,” said the adviser, who also described the Giuliani raid as “overkill.”But the raid has also raised the question of whether Giuliani's seemingly steadfast loyalty to Trump could withstand the weight of potential criminal charges. Giuliani has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
Giuliani is reportedly under investigation for potential crimes under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which makes it illegal to act as an “agent of a foreign principal” without registering with DOJ. As the DOJ explains on its website, the purpose of FARA is “to identify foreign influence in the United States and address threats to national security” by promoting “transparency” and “ensuring that the United States government and the public know the source of certain information from foreign agents intended to influence American public opinion, policy, and laws.” According to the New York Times, at least one of the Giuliani search warrants explicitly cited FARA.
The Giuliani search warrants appear to comport with the facts leading up to count one of Trump’s first impeachment, which charged Trump with abuse of power in corruptly soliciting election assistance from Ukraine to discredit Joe Biden, his primary rival for the presidency.
One of the warrants reportedly specified that the FBI sought communications between Giuliani and Ukrainian officials, including former president Petro Poroshenko and two former Ukrainian prosecutors who are implicated in helping Giuliani collect information about the Bidens. Documents made public in November 2019 further indicate that Giuliani was simultaneously negotiating with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, for hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees to “Giuliani Partners,” purportedly to assist Lutsenko in the recovery of Ukrainian assets. And it’s been reported that Giuliani also sought assistance in his Biden probe from Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who is under indictment in the United States and whom Toensing (Wednesday’s other warrant recipient) represents.
The infamous call in which former president Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to do him a “favor” and investigate Hunter Biden and the origins of the Russia probe took place on July 25, 2019, and eventually led to the former president’s first impeachment. But the pressure campaign against the Ukrainians started just three days earlier, when Rudy Giuliani, then the president’s personal lawyer, was on a call with a top Zelensky aide asking him to tell the Ukrainian leader to “just let these investigations go forward.”
The call between Giuliani and Andriy Yermak, then Zelensky’s top foreign policy advisor and currently his chief of staff, happened on July 22, 2019. Details of the Giuliani–Yermak call were first reported by Time in February. But today, BuzzFeed News is publishing the transcript for the first time.
- So having said all that, I wanted to meet with the President Elect really just to say one thing to him, which is what I'd like to say to him now: Just let these investigations go forward, you know, get someone to investigate this, who really is honest, who isn't gonna be intimidated. And then we can get all the facts. Because no matter how much we tried to get it here in theUS, even the FBI or… some of this happened in the Ukraine, and if they can dig it up, it'll bevery valuable to make sure it never happens again. And I have no interest in anybody not telling the truth or exaggerating… or… It isn't about political favour, it's about… this is a very serious thing… and you shouldn't feel terrible, because it involved some other countries too… It isn't just the Ukraine in which this was done… There are three or four other countries, in which similar things are going on. And all we need… all we need from the President is to say: I'm gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he's gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election… and then the Biden thing has to be run out. I don't know if it's true or not, I mean, I see… I see him bragging about it on television. And to me as a lawyer… to me as a lawyer, it sounds like a bribe. A bribe is offering something of value in exchange for official action. So he offered Poroshenko a 1.2 billion dollar loan guarantee, critical to Poroshenko's success as president, in exchange for getting rid of a prosecutor general, that he didn't wanna get rid of, which is official action. Somebody in Ukraine's gotta take that seriously. Instead of what Lutsenko did, which is he announce he was investigating it and then all of a sudden he announce he wasn't investigating it. So that investigation of Burisma has been started, discontinued… started and discontinued about three times.So… What I wanted to tell the President (Zelensky) is: BE CAREFUL. Probably it's a little arrogant to say that. I shouldn't say that about being careful. But just as a person interested: be careful of the people around you, because… they can very easily… they can very easily get you into trouble. And the other part of that is. I don't to speak for the President (Trump), I'll speak as his friend. To see some people around him (Zelensky), who aren't just opposed to the President(Trump), but said some very very personal nasty things about him (Trump) is… is trouble. As his friend and advisor, I… I… Look… Some of the people he's closest to now were people, who opposed him on the world stage. I can't mention, who they are, but he has no problem if you supported Hillary… or if you are democrat, if you are more liberal, or you thought she'd be better for the country… Okay. But it's the things, where people said that he's unstable, he's gonna be impeached… That gets kinda personal and it interferes with a really good… really good relationship. And I don't think it's necessary, because… … (illegible)… sort of like a white knight… like a… he doesn't have any of these involvements like a lot of these business people and political people have. So I'm telling you that's my only motive. It isn't to get anybody in trouble, who doesn't deserve to be in trouble. But it is to make sure we get all ev… for our country's sake and your country's sake, we get all these facts straight. We fix them and we put it behind us. Afterall, it's other people who did this, not us. So… And… And you want to fix this, so it doesn't happen in the future.
- Rudy (37:52-38:51) Kurt, I was about to sort of follow up on what you just said, which is: if he (Zelensky) could say something like that (illegible)… his own in the conversation, it would go a long way. It would go a long way with the President (Trump) to solve the problems. Or the issue. Or the question. Let's not call it a problem. Let's call it there's a question in the president's mind. But I should emphasize to you – it's not put there by me. Or JUST by me. And I'm not the most significant… purveyor of that. I mean, I can't tell you, what I have advised him. But I can tell you, I generally think it's good if people talk, even if they disagree with each other. So I'm not telling him, what to say, I'm just saying, if that's the way he feels and that's something he could say. It could shorten a lot of… discussions that have to take place.
- YERMAK (38:59-39:03)“I’m sure that Zelensky will say that, yeah”
Michael Cohen says, “Do I think Rudy will flip on him? Look, Rudy has looked like he has lost his mind several times. I don't think he has gone that far that he is going to stay loyal to somebody who is going to throw him under the bus.” With all the information obtained, Cohen predicts this will go far beyond Ukraine. “This could be about a multitude of other issues that Shady Rudy has been involved with.”
Strength through DeJoy: corruption of the US postal service was revealed this week when “Chief Postal Inspector revealed to lawmakers on Wednesday that, as part of its Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP), DeJoy personally ordered the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to begin to monitor Americans' social media accounts.”
“Everyone who has the opportunity to observe it knows that
the FuhrerPrevious Guy can hardly dictate from above everything which he intends to realize sooner or later. On the contrary, up till now, everyone with a post in the new GermanyUSA has worked best when he has, so to speak, worked towards the FuhrerPrevious Guy.” (Sinne des Führers im vorauseilenden Gehorsam)