September 12, 2020

Rudy Giuliani may be bonkers but his collaboration with Russian agent Andriy Derkach should be taken very seriously.

For some reason, MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart thought it would be useful to interview Giuliani this morning about his association with Derkach, now that he has been identified and sanctioned as an “active Russian agent” by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Daily Beast has more on these two:

Andriy Derkach worked closely with Giuliani—and with the Trump-friendly cable network OANN—to push accusations of political misconduct against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Derkach, a member of Kyiv’s parliament and son of a former KGB officer, has also been supplying documents to Republicans on Capitol Hill, where Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is conducting an election-eve investigation into the Bidens.

I don’t know what Capehart thought he’d get out of Giuliani, but the two went at it this morning with nothing more to come out of it than Giuliani unconvincingly reiterating he had no idea that Derkach is a Russian agent and that his association with Derkach had nothing to do with his investigations into Biden. Capehart insisted the obvious, that Giuliani had to know. We were also treated to Giuliani spewing a bunch of conspiracy theories about Biden, Bob Mueller and George Soros.

What really matters is what’s being done with the Russian disinformation.

In a follow-up discussion, Politico’s Natasha Bertrand provided the significant takeaways. First, she debunked the notion that Derkach had nothing to do with Rudy's work on Biden. “Derkach has been holding press conferences since late last year,” she said, and claiming that Biden has been involved in some corrupt dealings with Ukraine’s former president, Petro Poroshenko. (It’s worth noting that C&L reported on Giuliani’s collusion with Derkach to get dirt on Biden last December.) “These have all been part of a campaign to discredit Joe Biden ahead of the election,” Bertrand added.

Then Bertrand got to the heart of the nightmare: Derkach’s Russian disinformation is getting the U.S. Senate’s stamp of approval and legitimacy:

BERTRAND: It's not just that Derkach is speaking in a vacuum here, he’s also been sending information to members of Congress and some of that information has informed investigations that are going on right now, investigations that are going to produce a report prior to Election day. I’m speaking, of course, an investigation that’s being conducted by Senator Johnson and Chuck Grassley, on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, into these allegations that are being made out of Ukraine by these Ukrainian figures that are then being funneled back here, put into the mainstream and legitimized by congressional probes.

This is all part of the same operation here. What ultimately got the president impeached is now being funneled into these congressional investigations, either through Rudy Giuliani, who said that he's submitting his own report to Congress, through people like Derkach, who are trying to, who actually just recently parted ways with a lobbyist who was trying to get him meetings on Capitol Hill with lawmakers and with other important people about this Biden issue.

This is all part of the massive disinformation campaign to undermine Biden ahead of the election, that the intelligence community has specifically been warning about for weeks now.

It’s 2016 all over again for the Russians, but this time with the GOP Senate standing in for WikiLeaks.

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