Raise your hand if you're shocked that Trump's lackeys at the Justice Department put the kibosh on an investigation into Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine fuckery.

And if your hand is in the air, you can go ahead and smack your forehead while shouting "Snap out of it!"

Now that's out of the way, let's talk about the latest New York Times revelations about the distinguished (lol) tenure of one William P. Barr as Attorney General of US and A.

For at least a year, career federal prosecutors in Manhattan (that's our old pal SDNY) have been investigating the president's free lawyer for possible illegal lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian officials. Remember that Giuliani tried to get a visa for the notoriously corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was forced out after Joe Biden threatened to withhold American aid. Giuliani was also in negotiations during 2019 to personally represent yet another corrupt Ukrainian official, Yuriy Lutsenko, as he worked to recoup "stolen" assets.


There's also whatever hinky shit he got up to with those chucklefucks Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who are both under indictment. The Times says that SDNY was particularly interested in Giuliani's role in the campaign to oust Marie Yovanovitch, our beleaguered ambassador to Ukraine. There were quite a few wealthy people on both sides of the Atlantic looking to get her out of the way so they could carve up the Eastern European hydrocarbon market without some nosy American hollering about corruption.

The Times reports:

In Manhattan, the federal investigation into Mr. Giuliani grew out of a case against two Soviet-born men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who aided his mission in Ukraine.

Even before his work for Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani had business in Ukraine, including a 2017 contract to help the town of Kharkiv improve its emergency services and bolster its image as a destination for investment. The deal was arranged by Pavel Fuks, a wealthy Ukrainian-Russian developer who said that Mr. Giuliani was hired to lobby for the town, a claim that Mr. Giuliani denies.

The Manhattan prosecutors have examined Mr. Giuliani's dealings with Mr. Fuks, the people briefed on the matter said.

But Rudy has an explanation for every season — all four of them, plus a funeral and a free penis lollipop. He was representing the president at all times! And when he wasn't representing the president, he was acting as a lawyer, not a lobbyist. Other than that, he was just lying down to tuck in his shirt, you filthy-minded heathens. Plus, she's just a friend taking him on a tour of rural hospital and spending the night in his hotel room watching The Godfather, as one does.

Astonishingly, the career prosecutors at SDNY were not convinced. They figured they had enough evidence of crime last summer to issue a subpoena for Giuliani's electronic records. But because the target was a lawyer — and the president's lawyer, at that — they had to run it up the flagpole for approval by senior DOJ staff, aka political appointees. At which point Bill Barr (or one of his goons) put a fat finger on the scales of justice.

The Times says that Main Justice shitcanned the subpoena last summer citing a DOJ rule prohibiting investigative action within 60 days of an election. (Math whizzes will note that most of the summer comes before September 4.) After the election, "political appointees in Mr. Trump's Justice Department, including officials in the deputy attorney general's office at the time, did not approve, noting Mr. Trump was still contesting the election results in several states — a legal effort being led by Mr. Giuliani, the people said."

That would be Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, a lawyer with approximately zero criminal legal experience, who took over as acting AG when Barr noped out.

CNN says that Rosen et al. had doubts about the Manhattan prosecutors' legal theories.

Officials in Washington pushed back during the conversation last year and cited issues ranging from the proximity to the election and ongoing election litigation to the strength of the case, the people said. Officials discussed whether other methods could be used to obtain evidence, since a search warrant would be broad and inherently raise questions about communications involving Trump, according to a person briefed on the matter.

One source said there was also some skepticism from lawyers with the national security division.

Some officials at Justice headquarters raised concerns that the New York probe hinged on what they believed was a novel interpretation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires that individuals disclose with the Justice Department lobbying activities on behalf of foreign governments or officials.

As the Times points out, these same prosecutors exhibited no such reluctance when it came to subpoenaing Hunter Biden's records and putting the US Attorney for Delaware on the case.

On his way out the door, Jeffrey Rosen left a note for his successor.

"Dear Merrick," he wrote in a December 30 memo reported by CNN, "I am leaving you this pile of shit. I didn't want Trump to fire me and send a MAGA mob to my house if I laid a finger on Rudy, that disgrace to the profession. When you finally get around to cleaning up this mess, I'll probably have the decency to keep my mouth shut. But everyone else in Trumpland will plant crazy conspiracy stories about you being in China's pocket, or at the very least, seeking revenge because we torpedoed your SCOTUS nomination. Sorry about that! xox, Jeff."

Or words to that effect. Profiles in courage, every one of them.

[NYT / CNN]

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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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