Since the NYT revealed that SDNY is investigating Rudy Giuliani for what they call “lobbying” laws,
Mr. Lutsenko initially asked Mr. Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said, he interviewed Mr. Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Biden and others.
Mr. Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the F.B.I. He did not say who told him.
Mr. Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Mr. Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Mr. Solomon, who independently interviewed Mr. Lutsenko and other sources.
Mr. Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Mr. Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Mr. Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.
He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Mr. Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.
Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Mr. Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.
“He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Mr. Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Mr. Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”
And since the WSJ reported that Pete Sessions — named as Congressman 1 in the Lev Parnas/Igor Fruman indictment — was cooperating with a grand jury subpoena targeting Rudy,
A grand jury has issued a subpoena related to Manhattan federal prosecutors’ investigation into Rudy Giuliani, seeking documents from former Rep. Pete Sessions about his dealings with President Trump’s personal lawyer and associates, according to people familiar with the matter.
The subpoena seeks documents related to Mr. Giuliani’s business dealings with Ukraine and his involvement in efforts to oust the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, as well as any interactions between Mr. Sessions, Mr. Giuliani and four men who were indicted last week on campaign-finance and conspiracy accounts, the people said.
Mr. Sessions’ knowledge of Mr. Giuliani’s dealings is a primary focus of the subpoena, the people said.
There has been a closer review of whether it would be possible to indict the President’s personal lawyer under foreign agent laws, with broad consensus that what Rudy is doing is actually covered by FARA — and not just his work for Ukraine, but also (among other places) for Turkey.
Oh, by the way, this just happened:
As the investigation into Giuliani apparently widens, another of Parnas and Fruman’s business partners is reportedly now in custody: https://t.co/yFmTUIaOiT— The Moscow Project (@moscow_project) October 16, 2019
All this shows, by the way, how wrong-headed the Citizen’s United case was.
E.J. Dionne suggests that the indictment is worth reading in its totality as “a road map to how the system can be gamed” after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.
Trevor Potter, the [Campaign Legal Center’s] president, said in an interview that his group noticed a May 17, 2018, contribution of $325,000 from a limited liability corporation, Global Energy Producers (GEP) to America First Action, Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC. GEP seemed to have no real business purpose, and Potter and his colleagues suspected it was a shell company, which is what it turned out to be. The indictment charges that Parnas, Fruman and two other defendants used GEP to make political donations funded by an unidentified Russian businessman.
In the Citizens United ruling, a majority on the Supreme Court ruled that money equals speech, and therefore, the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures by corporations and associations. It would be interesting to know whether they envisioned that the First Amendment protected the free speech rights of unidentified Russian businessmen.
Here is how Dionne concludes.
It is a supreme irony that Trump triumphed by exploiting public disaffection with a political system so many Americans see as infested with sleaze and controlled by forces operating entirely for their own benefit.
Rather than being the cure for such maladies, he is their apotheosis, the culmination of all that has gone wrong in our politics. The task of the impeachment inquiry is to use his Ukrainian misadventure to bring home the breadth of the president’s venality and self-dealing. The goal should be not only to rid the country of a dangerous leader but also to show how desperately our system needs repair.
Document Dump — the indictment:
It’s always a good thing to add Marcy Wheeler’s take, even if it is non-conclusive:
Breaking — So Fruity-G is a Russian agent too?
Breaking: Federal investigation of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani includes a counterintelligence probe pic.twitter.com/4qd9rgaiL7— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) October 16, 2019
Kenneth McCallion, a New York attorney, says that investigators first approached him earlier this year to ask about Giuliani’s ties to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates indicted last week on campaign-finance related charges.
McCallion says FBI counterintelligence agents in February or March asked questions about some of Giuliani’s Ukrainian business dealings.
The counterintelligence probe hinges in part on whether a foreign influence operation was trying to take advantage of Giuliani’s business ties in Ukraine and with wealthy foreigners to make inroads with the White House, according to one person briefed on the matter.
Former FBI agent and lawyer:
It’s literally the same dumb movie https://t.co/eH9bZwPIlo— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) October 16, 2019
Giuliani hasn’t made himself out to be anything but an easy mark for foreign intelligence services. He practices poor counterintelligence hygiene from start to finish.