Recently, the FBI searched Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment. The search was made in connection with the prosecution of two Ukrainian Americans for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Giuliani is a respected lawyer, a former federal prosecutor, and was mayor of New York during the 9/11 attacks. FARA prosecutions are rare and typically are dealt with through fines. The use of search warrants against a lawyer is also unusual, and the Department of Justice handbook counsels the use of some lesser means, such as subpoenas, to obtain information when possible.
Corruption in the Ukraine
In his dealings with Ukraine, Giuliani says he acted as President Trump’s emissary and lawyer. These “minister without portfolio” employments have been used before, particularly where, as in Ukraine, American government officials may themselves be corrupt, compromised, or resistant to the president’s agenda.
The president ultimately has authority over foreign policy and can use whomever he pleases to carry it out. One of Giuliani’s stated tasks was to encourage the Ukrainian authorities to look into the suspicious employment of Hunter Biden on the board of the natural gas company, Burisma.
Hunter Biden’s role in that company, and that of then-Vice President Biden, does appear fishy, not least because Joe bragged about how he withheld American aid to strong-arm the Ukrainians into firing the prosecutor investigating Burisma while Hunter Biden was on the company’s board.
Ukraine appears for many years to have been the “Star Wars Cantina” of Europe, a poorly governed ex-Soviet Republic, where second-tier American politicos and their loser kids made a ton of money. Trump’s apparent concern over the extensive, well-documented corruption of that country was the ostensible basis for the first impeachment proceedings against him. It’s funny how this non-NATO country on the periphery of Europe causes so many issues back home. But it is, among other things, a proxy for whether Americans favor a renewed Cold War with Russia.
The Deep State has a strong view on the subject. Trump did not hide his completely reasonable and openly stated desire for better relations with Russia in his 2016 campaign. In fact, Hillary made a big show of it. But the American people voted for peace.
For the Deep State, scaling back commitments is not allowed, even when it’s ratified by an election. It was hostile to Trump across the board, extending to the unprecedented spying on his campaign during and after the 2016 election. They lied about many things to do this. They also protected their own, notably FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who forged an email and got a slap on wrist. He even was permitted to remain a lawyer by the DC Bar.
Giuliani’s Papers Likely Contain Extensive Privileged Material
The main problem with searching Giuliani’s office is that much of what he likely possesses is privileged, since he acted as the President’s lawyer post-election. In addition, his work in Ukraine on behalf of President Trump likely has executive privilege. These are important protections, usually taken for granted.
Getting Giuliani’s documents and computers will allow various people with their toes in Ukraine—including the Biden family—to figure out what Trump and Giuliani know. It will also allow Biden’s protectors to seal up incriminating documents as confidential because of the ongoing investigation, and to figure out who else may have dirt on the Bidens.
Coupled with the denial of bail and dragnet-style round-up of nonviolent offenders from the Capitol Protest, the Giuliani shakedown is another sign of the hardball, take-no-prisoners approach of the Democrats in power. No customary or formal restraint will have any effect, and the media will act not as a check, but rather as a cheerleader, of government overreach.
Trump Never Drained the Swamp
One of Trump’s biggest problems was that he never fully controlled the executive branch. We pretend we are a democracy and a changing of the guard matters, but vast swaths of the government are unelected. Career civil servants are not necessarily a problem if they do what they are told by the elected officials who are supposed to be in charge, but they have institutional interests and agendas of their own. The permanent members of the government—particularly at the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement and intelligence branches—made a big show of this early in Trump’s Administration and labeled their lawless and undemocratic obstruction “The Resistance.”
Biden believes in the same internationalist, interventionist, and intrusive Deep State agenda. Biden only appears more in control of the government than Trump did because he empowers and augments the Deep State. His recent State of the Union announced a big money giveaway and expansion of government. He will be rewarded. When he tells ATF to do something, they’ll do it. When he wants to pull our forces from Afghanistan, he can.
Trump, for all his tough talk, was a bit naïve about how the government works. He gave little thought to who to put in key positions, often staffing them with anti-Trump, GOP hacks. He soon learned the whole government is rotten, and that his talk of a Swamp was more than mere rhetoric. He contented himself with becoming an ordinary Republican president, fighting for tax cuts and dubious items like criminal justice reform that fell within the range of the pre-Trump consensus. Even so, he was “rewarded” with two impeachments. Now he and his key supporters are being harassed by the FBI.
When Biden says “America is back” and praises “our democracy,” it’s clear he means a return to the pre-Trump status quo, including the meddlesome and ungoverned Deep State.