The federal investigation into Rudy Giuliani seems to center on whether he engaged in an illegal quid pro quo with corrupt Ukrainians who wanted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired. And that’s not the only suspicious “quid” or “quo” that’s part of the public record.
Giuliani took advantage of his position as Donald Trump’s personal attorney to market himself to various corrupt Ukrainian politicians and oligarchs, Maddow explained, and as someone who had Trump’s ear and could thus deliver U.S. government action. One of the things Giuliani’s Ukrainian pals wanted was to get the corruption-fighting Yovanovitch out of their way. Lo and behold, Trump did exactly that.
The big legal question, Maddow said, is whether Giuliani “was essentially selling” Yovanovitch’s sacking in return for some kind of payment. She pointed out that there was “sort of a menu” of possible ways to pay. They could hire or direct money to him and his associates as consultants or they could also "in effect pay by delivering to Giuliani anti-Joe Biden political ammunition from Ukraine to benefit the Trump re-election campaign."
"It is a violation of federal law to lobby the United States government on behalf of foreign officials without registering with the Justice Department, and Mr. Giuliani never did so," The New York Times reported. As Maddow suggested, a Yovanovitch or other quid pro quo could be viewed as payment.
Or maybe the quid or quo was more than that. Maddow noted that according to former Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, born in Soviet Ukraine and now under indictment in the U.S., the deal was that in exchange for generating anti-Biden information, the Barr Department of Justice would keep oligarch Dmytro Firtash, charged with multiple U.S. felonies, from being extradited to this country.
That scenario “creates all sort of interesting implications,” Maddow added, meaning that the investigation could ensnare people in the DOJ, too.
But while everyone denies any wrongdoing, the fact remains that “the deliverables were delivered,” Maddow said. And the cast of people involved in delivering them extends right to the top of the Trump administration food chain.
She was fired by Mike Pompeo. Mr. Pompeo, would you like to talk about your role in effectuating that deliverable, as part of this scheme?
The indicted oligarch, Dmytro Firtash, he did, in fact, have his case brought to the U.S. Justice Department, at the highest levels, for what appears to have been a sympathetic hearing and, in fact, Mr. Firtash still hasn't been extradited to the United States to face trial on those multiple, now longstanding, felony corruption charges.
And in terms of deliverables - well, Mr. Giuliani did drag home a whole bunch of ginned up, fake allegations against Joe Biden and his family that were designed to hurt him in the election.
There’s also a Russia connection.
The people who came forward in the Ukraine to help Giuliani actually get that stuff, develop that stuff, create TV shows about that stuff, do interviews about that stuff, do podcasts about that stuff, they all turned out to be Russian intelligence agents. It's weird, right? What a coincidence. Two of the people who worked with Giuliani on this scheme, two of the people who Giuliani got information from about the Biden family in Ukraine, two of those people have since been sanctioned by the U.S. government within the past year as agents of the Kremlin, as agents of the Russian Federation, who were part of an active Russian intelligence-directed effort to mess with the U.S. election in 2020, just as Russian intelligence messed with our election in 2016.
Maddow went on to say that Giuliani was warned in 2019 by the FBI that his cronies were connected to Russian intelligence. That was apparently based on a Washington Post report. But that report has since “corrected” that Giuliani denies having received such a warning. The Post now states that FBI officials “planned to warn Giuliani as part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials.”