Turns Out Rudy's Been Colluding With Russian Spies All Along. Whaaaaaaat???

The last three adults at the White House are trying desperately to save Trump from diving down the rabbithole with Rudy again.

How else to interpret yesterday's announcement by the Treasury Department that Rudy Giuliani's pal Andrii Derkach is going on the sanctions list for working as a Russian agent to ratfuck the 2020 US presidential election? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin lived through impeachment hearings with a White House that stonewalled Congress and refused to let any executive branch officials testify. But if Biden's in the Oval Office, he's hardly going to throw a blanket of executive privilege over Munch, Pompeo, and the rest of the corruption crew. Time to start hedging those bets!

So yesterday Treasury dropped sanctions on three individuals from the Russian troll farm "Internet Research Agency" and Derkach, the Ukrainian who's been feeding Giuliani, Devin Nunes, and Senate Intelligence Chair Ron Johnson misinformation about Joe Biden for a year now.

From at least late 2019 through mid-2020, Derkach waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States designed to culminate prior to election day. Derkach's unsubstantiated narratives were pushed in Western media through coverage of press conferences and other news events, including interviews and statements.

Between May and July 2020, Derkach released edited audio tapes and other unsupported information with the intent to discredit U.S. officials, and he levied unsubstantiated allegations against U.S. and international political figures. Derkach almost certainly targeted the U.S. voting populace, prominent U.S. persons, and members of the U.S. government, based on his reliance on U.S. platforms, English-language documents and videos, and pro-Russian lobbyists in the United States used to propagate his claims.

HUH. That's exactly what National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director Bill Evanina told the House Intelligence Committee, before Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe pulled the plug on in-person election security briefings. Because you know how pissy the president gets when someone admits out loud that Russia is once again doing its darnedest to get him elected despite the will of the American people.

But golly whoever might those "pro-Russian lobbyists" in the United States "used to propagate his claims" be? Could Treasury be referring to the president's pro bono lawyer who's been working with Derkach to gin up nonsense about Biden laundering money out of Ukraine via Franklin Templeton bonds since 2018?

Who wouldn't be taken in by such a credible pitch? Anyway, you can't blame Rudy for trusting Derkach, who literally went to KGB spy school, because, umm, tell us why, New York Times!

Mr. Giuliani said in an interview Thursday night that he "felt comfortable" meeting with Mr. Derkach "because there were no sanctions against him" at the time. While he acknowledged that he "didn't do much investigation" of Mr. Derkach, Mr. Giuliani said: "I have no reason to believe he is a Russian agent. There is nothing I saw that said he was a Russian agent. There is nothing he gave me that seemed to come from Russia at all." But he added, "How the hell would I know?"

Mr. Giuliani emphasized that he did not give Mr. Trump or the State Department any information that Mr. Derkach had provided.

LOL, remember when the Timesbreathlessly reported Giuliani's demented Uranium One ramblings about Joe and Hunter Biden as if they might actually be serious allegations worthy of legitimate consideration?


As for Rudy's denial that he tried to launder Russian misinformation into the State Department, well, let's take a wild shot in the dark that he got it via an intermediary. Perhaps one Andrii Telizhenko, who's been flogging that shit on this side of the water since 2019. Telizhenko was Ken Vogel's source for the original 2017 Politico article — now thoroughlydebunked — claiming that Ukraine was the REAL COLLUSION, and he's parlayed that into a sweet gig peddling Eastern European conspiracy theories to credulous Republicans desperate for dirt to prove that actually it's the Democrats who are corrupt. Telizhenko met with Roodles, Devin Nunes, and the Senate's dumbest Republican, Ron Johnson.

via Andrii Telizhenko Facebook

Johnson and Chuck Grassley have been desperately trying to make this Biden-Ukraine thing happen and planned to subpoena Telizhenko to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Judiciary committees, but internal pushback from their own side made them drop the idea. Senate Intelligence Commitee chairs Marco Rubio and Richard Burr warned Johnson and Grassley that they are in danger of advancing Kremlin propaganda to influence the 2020 presidential election, and that was before Evanina's declaration that Derkach was spearheading a Russian-backed influence scheme.

Yesterday Rubio and Burr told Johnson and Grassley that there was NFW they were handing classified Intelligence Committee transcripts from the Russia investigation over to Homeland Security and Judiciary so they could be twisted into some kind of attack on Joe Biden.

"There's a certain institutional attitude on the part of Intelligence Committee members for probably several decades ... that somehow the Judiciary Committee doesn't have any jurisdiction over national security matters and intelligence matters, and we do," Grassley whined to The Hill, as if the issue is some kind of turf tiff, not exhausted Republicans refusing to be dragged into yet another Kremlin-concocted political hit job.

Because some time in the next 57 days, Trump is going to get desperate after pushing the RACISM and ANTIFA buttons five thousand times to no avail. And the temptation will be strong to bring back his old pal Rudy and conscript the GOP into yet another reading of "Joe Biden, Eastern European Money Launderer," a one-act play by V. Putin. And these guys may be evil, but they're not crazy.

"Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world," Secretary Mnuchin was careful to include in Treasury's official announcement of the sanctions. "The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns and uphold the integrity of our election system."

Whatever drug deal Rudy "Chaos" Giuliani and Ron Johnson are cooking up as an October surprise, these guys do not want their fingerprints anywhere near it. Not exactly a vote of confidence in the Dear Leader's electoral prospects.

[NYT / Just Security / WaPo]

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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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