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Trump’s State Department busted helping Rudy Giuliani dig up campaign dirt against Joe Biden

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The State Department assisted President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in setting up a meeting with a Ukrainian official to “strongly urge” the new administration in Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

Giuliani backed out of a planned trip to Kiev earlier this year that was meant to dig up dirt on Biden. But the New York Times now reports the former New York mayor instead traveled to Madrid to meet with a top aide to new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with help from the State Department.

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Giuliani told the Times that he “strongly urged” the Ukrainian official, presidential aide Andriy Yermak, to investigate whether there was any impropriety in Biden’s diplomatic efforts in Ukraine while his son worked for a gas company in the country.

Giuliani said he urged Yermak to “just investigate the darn things” and came away “pretty confident they’re going to investigate it.”

Giuliani claimed to the Times that he traveled for the meeting as a “private citizen,” but acknowledged that his travel was arranged with the help of the State Department.

The meeting was arranged with the help of Kurt Volker, a special envoy to Ukraine. Giuliani said he “briefed State Department officials on the back-channel communications” after returning from the trip. He would not say whether Trump was aware of the outreach.

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The move concerned Ukrainian officials, who accused Giuliani of complicating their efforts to set up a meeting between Zelensky and Trump at the White House. Ukrainian officials are worried, according to the Times, that Giuliani’s outreach has created a perception that the meeting would be contingent on the Ukrainian government doing his bidding.

Giuliani “did not totally reject the suggestion that he was complicating relations between the two governments,” the Times reported.

Ukrainian news outlet warned that Zelensky, who was elected in April, risks serious blowback if he works with Trump.

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“If Ukraine supports the current president [i.e., Trump] and sells out Biden, it would become a cause of deep and irreversible processes which later will circle back on Ukraine in a very unpleasant manner,” the site said.

Giuliani was heavily criticized after the Times reported in May that he had actively worked to urge prosecutors appointed by Zelensky’s predecessor to investigate a gas company for which Hunter Biden had worked.

Later that month, the Washington Post reported that Giuliani had met with a former Ukrainian diplomat who had “made unproven claims that the Democratic National Committee worked with the Kiev government in 2016 to dig up incriminating information.”

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After Giuliani’s early efforts were reported, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., warned Ukrainian officials not to work with Giuliani.

The lawmakers warned that any coordination between the Ukrainian government and Trump’s personal attorney “risk severely jeopardizing support for Ukraine in Congress.”

Yermak told the Times that he did not interpret Hoyer’s message as a warning to avoid investigating Biden.

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Giuliani denied that he did anything wrong by pressuring the Ukrainians to go after Trump’s enemies.

“I wouldn’t do an unethical thing in my life, I’m a really good lawyer,” he told CNN. “I’m proud of what I did.”

But former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah suggested Giuliani may have gone too far this time.

“There was an outcry, he canceled it, and now he’s just back at it?” she wrote on Twitter. “This seems highly unethical and likely illegal.”

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Igor Derysh is a New York-based political writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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REVEALED: Russia carried out ‘stunning’ operation that hurt FBI’s ability to track its spies during 2016 election

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Yahoo News is reporting that Russia carried out what is being described as a "stunning" operation in the United States that hampered the FBI's ability to track Russian spies during the 2016 presidential election.

According to Yahoo, Russia in 2016 made a technological breakthrough that allowed it to compromise the FBI's encrypted radio systems used by mobile surveillance teams who keep tabs on suspected Russian spies operating in the U.S. Russia even managed to compromise these teams' backup systems that consisted of cellphones with push-to-talk capabilities, thus further hindering the surveillance teams' ability to do their jobs.

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The DOJ is suing Omarosa over the same law Brett Kavanaugh is accused of violating: Ex-White House ethics chief

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On Monday, former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub noted a massive double standard at the Justice Department, pointing out that government attorneys are suing Omarosa Manigault Newman for financial disclosure violations — while giving a free pass to Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of even more serious financial disclosure violations.

In fact, noted Shaub, not only is the DOJ not pursuing that allegation, Attorney General Bill Barr is giving the DOJ employees who helped fast-track Kavanaugh through Supreme Court confirmation hearings a prestigious award, usually reserved for prosecutors who take down terrorists and mob bosses:

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2020 Election

Trump’s longshot bid to win New Mexico has political leaders baffled: ‘He’s a batsh*t racist’

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Despite losing New Mexico by eight points in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump and his campaign manager Brad Pascale are making big plans to win the state in 2020 -- and that has political observers baffled.

With Trump appearing in New Mexico on Monday night, Politico reports the president has his work cut out for him in a state that saw the GOP lose the governorship and one House seat in 2018.

"The Land of Enchantment has voted for a Republican presidential candidate only once since 1992. With a considerable nonwhite voter population and all-Democratic congressional delegation, it’s not exactly fertile ground for a surprise GOP victory," the report notes before adding that Parscale feels they can make inroads this go-around.

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