Rudy Giuliani

The reviews for Ukrainium One 2: Electric Boogaloo are in. Apparently it's reductive, poorly plotted, and the graphics suck. No stars!

Or as Rudy Giuliani put it to The Daily Beast, "My guess is that George Soros is behind this counter-offensive… because he wants to create a socialist country. He'd like to see us collapse and see us taken over by the international... whatever."

What. Ever.

Even in the hands of a competent ratfucker, this warmed over rehash of the Uranium One/WikiLeaks hack-and-dump op/hooker pee tape/But Her Emails would probably have fallen flat this year — we all lived through this shit in 2016, and we've been living through the aftermath for four years. But Rudy Giuliani is no one's idea of competent. Or even, you know, sane.

The man is actually out there saying it's totally fine if he's a cutout for a Russian disinformation campaign. "The chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50," he told the Beast of his pal Andrii Derkach, whom the Treasury just sanctioned for being a literal Russian agent trying to interfere in our election.


This weekend Giuliani told the New York Times that he'd chosen the New York Post to launder this obvious Russian bullshit about Hunter Biden because "either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out." See, he needed a semi-respectable outlet (read: not OANN) to publish it, but not one that would do any of that annoying journalism stuff like fact-checking.

Even so, the reporter who actually wrote the story, Bruce Golding, wouldn't put his name on it because of "concerns over the article's credibility." Which would be natural for any article where the sources were Steve Bannon, currently under indictment for defrauding donors to a charity, and Rudy freakin' Giuliani. Much less an article involving a presidential candidate and an unauthenticated hard drive supposedly obtained from some rando computer store in Delaware after Hunter Biden got wasted and flew cross-country to abandon a laptop full of incriminating emails and videos in his father's home state.

The Times reports that multiple Post staffers refused to put their names on the smear, leaving just Emma-Jo Morris, a twenty-something Hannity/CPAC veteran who never bylined an article before last week, and Gabrielle Fonrouge, who didn't even know she was being credited with authorship until after the story appeared. It's hardly a ringing endorsement, although a spokesperson assured the Times that "The story was vetted and The Post stands by its reporting."

Meanwhile, as the story implodes like it was seeded with dynamite, neither Giuliani nor the Post have produced the actual hard drive for anyone else to vet, instead brandishing "printouts" from the hard drive. And with the supposed "smoking gun" evidence of an email between Hunter Biden and a Burisma executive failing to take hold, Rudy and his even wackier-ass surrogates have decided to desperately resort to some QAnon-themed pedophilia allegations.

OANN's Chanel Rion claims to have seen evidence of Hunter Biden's "underage obsessions" and promises that "Druggie Hunter makes Anthony Weiner's down under selfie addiction look normal." Meanwhile wingnut talk show host Wayne Allyn Root swears he knows a guy who saw video of "Hunter raping & torturing little Chinese children."

Then America's Dumbest Senator (and easiest Russian intel mark!) Ron Johnson gave it the superficial imprimatur of legitimacy via his favorite "Money Honey" Maria Bartiromo on Fox News. See, Business Insider worked out that the FBI agent serving the subpoena for the laptop is Joshua Wilson, who worked on child pornography cases back in 2012. So ipso facto propter hoc viewers should just assume there's probably kiddie porn on "Hunter Biden's" laptop. That is just logic!

Never mind that the computer shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, told reporters he didn't see any evidence of child pornography on the drive. Never mind that Giuliani claims Mac Isaac tipped off Johnson himself to the claims about the laptop in 2019, and the senator apparently didn't find them credible enough to follow up. Never mind that possession and transmission of child pornography is a felony, so Mac Isaac, Giuliani, and Bannon had an affirmative obligation to alert law enforcement immediately as to the presence of any illicit material, if such existed. Maria Bartiromo is not here to ask journalism questions about any of this, of course; she's here to shriek inanities while Judge Boxwine is sleeping it off in the daylight hours, allegedly.

Oh, look, here's Bartiromo handing Rudy Colludy the microphone to scream about Hunter Biden's drug problems.

And here she is giving actual DNI John Ratcliffe -- no stranger to shamelessly sharing Russian propaganda himself! -- a platform to deny that this hypothetical laptop, which has theoretically been in the FBI's possession since December and has resulted in no child pornography charges or even revelations of impropriety by the former Vice President, is categorically not part of a Russian electoral influence operation. Despite it reeking to high heaven and lining up exactly with the Russian influence operation the intel agencies have warned us about for an entire year now.

Would DNI Ratcliffe, whose nomination was tanked the first time because he lied so egregiously about his résumé and was only confirmed because he was less worse than Ric Grenell, tell fibs to Maria Bartiromo? Would Maria Bartiromo use her position at Fox Business to air obvious Russian propaganda in a desperate attempt to save the Trump presidency?

Yeah, that's a tough one.

[Beast / NYT]

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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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