If the FBI comes to you and says that your pals in Ukraine are Russian agents who are working you in an effort to interfere in a US election, do you (A) stop what you are doing because you're not a goddamn traitor or (B) carry right on as before?

Let's assume you answered (A). But if (B), then welcome to the Wonketeriat, Senator Johnson and Mr. Giuliani.

As the Washington Post reported last night, counterintelligence agents visited both Ron Johnson and Rudy Giuliani back in August of 2019 to warn them that their Ukrainian buddies, who seemed to possess a treasure trove of dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, were actually Russian agents trying to launder disinformation into the American consciousness. The Post notes that the defensive briefings "reflect[ed] a broader concern by U.S. intelligence and federal investigators that Giuliani — among other influential Americans and U.S. institutions — was being manipulated by the Russian government to promote its interests."

And even though the warning was coming from an FBI helmed by Trump appointees, neither Rudy nor Ronnie deviated an inch from their previous, Putin-approved plans.


Despite the alert, Giuliani went forward in December 2019 with a planned trip to Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, where he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker whom the U.S. government later labeled "an active Russian agent" and sanctioned on grounds he was running an "influence campaign" against Biden. That operation, officials said, involved Ukrainian officials and political consultants who the U.S. intelligence community has since concluded were acting as Russian proxies not only to smear Biden and derail his candidacy but also to curtail U.S. support for Ukraine.

That "active Russian agent" would be Andriy Derkach, the dead-eyed mustachioed guy in the picture above, handing Rudy very serious proofs of Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton's perfidy. Derkach was sanctioned in September by the Treasury Department for his Kremlin-sponsored election interference. Wonkette's super secret sources say that Steven Mnuchin was still Treasury Secretary in September of 2020 (Must credit Wonkette!!!)

And after Trump's intel guys warned him off, Rudy not only met with Derkach in Ukraine but hosted him on his podcast in February of 2020 to air more lies about Joe Biden and his family.

"The chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50," he told the Daily Beast just weeks before the presidential election.

"My guess is that George Soros is behind this counter-offensive … because he wants to create a socialist country," he blarbled on. "He'd like to see us collapse and see us taken over by the international ... whatever."

The president's lawyer blamed the Derkach sanctions on "an intelligence ploy to try to create problems for Trump — because Derkach could probably bury Obama." Which just makes too much sense!

Faced with a warning that he was getting played by the Kremlin, Ron Johnson, an IRL United States Senator, decided it was more likely that he could trust guys like Derkach than American law enforcement.

"Regarding reports that I received an FBI briefing warning me that I was a target of Russian disinformation, I can confirm I received such a briefing in August of 2020," Johnson said in a statement to The Washington Post. "I asked the briefers what specific evidence they had regarding this warning, and they could not provide me anything other than the generalized warning. Without specific information, I felt the briefing was completely useless and unnecessary (since I was fully aware of the dangers of Russian disinformation).

"Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders, I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings."

Pretty weird that the FBI didn't want to reveal their sources and methods to a guy who was literally talking to Russian spies, huh?

Also, could anything be more Ron Johnson than assuming that law enforcement officials doing their jobs was some kind of reverse psychology ninja ploy to make him seem like a patsy of Russian intelligence? And even if you ate a bucket of lead paint chips and decided to roll with Johnson's premise, wouldn't the senator have been able to defeat these dirty tricksters by not using his office to launder Russian propaganda?

Johnson defended himself by insisting he never relied on Derkach to back up his totally spurious allegations that then Vice President Biden somehow abused his office to aid his son's business interests in Ukraine. Instead Johnson met with Derkach's ally Andrey Telizhenko, the source of the nonsensical allegations that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who tried to ratfuck the 2016 elections.

During the last two weeks of the Trump administration, Telizhenko also wound up on the Treasury sanctions list for his election interference efforts. But before that, Johnson tried to subpoena him for testimony to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which he chaired. After a briefing where the FBI said, "Holy shit, that guy's a Russian spy!" (or words to that effect), Mitt Romney blocked Johnson bringing in Telizhenko to testify. And, oh by the by, Republican Senator Richard Burr, then the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Johnson in December of 2019 that he was getting perilously close to enabling Russian election interference with his BS Biden probe. Which just goes to show how deep the conspiracy goes!

Johnny Law also paid a visit to the serious journalists at One America News in 2019 to give them a heads up that they were laundering Russian propaganda, but to no avail.

"We stand by our reporting highlighting Hunter Biden's financial windfall relationship with Burisma and VP Joe Biden's efforts to have a Prosecutor General fired to protect alleged wrongdoing by his son, Hunter," the network insisted to the Post, despite their entire narrative having been exploded by the the Senate's own report on the matter.

"OAN's interviews were prior to the sanctions and the reasons for sanctions were unknown to OAN at the time of the interviews," they added. Which would seem to be false on its face, since "the reasons for sanctions" were exactly what they got briefed on by the FBI before they hopped on that flight to Kiev with Rudy to make their "documentary" with Derkach and Telizhenko about Joe Biden in Ukraine.

But false on its face is kind of OAN's stock-in-trade, so naturally they ran the Kremlin disinformation.

FUCKING TRAITORS, EVERY ONE OF THEM.

[WaPo / Beast]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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