Rudy Giuliani’s Actions Remain Under Investigation

Last night, DOJ released a “reprocessed” Mueller Report in the BuzzFeed/CNN FOIA of it. (one, two, three)

I’m driving most of the day today, so probably won’t be able to comment on how little genuinely “new” it shows. But I stand by my prediction that the warrants in the Stone case are far more damning than anything released yesterday.

That said, given Billy Barr’s attempt to fire Geoff Berman as US Attorney for Southern District of New York, it’s worth noting the referrals portion of the report. That shows, among other things, that a referral from the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates influence-peddling — which could be Rudy’s grifters — is still redacted as an ongoing investigation.

In addition — as Katelyn Polantz noted on Twitter — the references to Rudy’s attempts to broker a pardon for Michael Cohen remain redacted.

SDNY is due to supersede the indictment for Rudy’s grifters, and we know from the Schulte case there is a working grand jury (albeit in White Plains, not Manhattan). So Rudy may well be in Berman’s crosshairs.

 

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54 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    It’s DJT daring the House to do anything about it. Pelosi ought to be smart enough to know that an impeachment of AG Barr for this, for trying to spike several other investigations (including Flynn’s), his repeated misrepresentations of documents he’s hiding and his role in the protest responses is something that will impress the true independents favorably as the lawlessness is exposed in open hearings. There really is no question that laws were broken here.

    However, Pelosi probably feels it is too close to an election, but let’s also remember that Lindsey’s teeing up a Burisma-fest so there needs to be a counterweight. Berniebros won’t care, though.

    • subtropolis says:

      There’s SO MUCH that we could discuss about this, and yet, you want to focus on Speaker Pelosi.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Pelosi has the tools to do something about this in a way to slow down the lawlessness. It’s no secret that there will be charges laid in a classic banana republic way against Biden in or around October, so why not provide the riposte especially since these issues are factual?

        However, for whatever reason, Pelosi is not likely to do anything no matter how much the WH dares her to do it. We will see when Nadler holds his hearing to see if Berman shows up or he starts the impeachment process himself on Barr at least.

  2. milestogo says:

    Assuming the worst in the case of Barr’s attempted fire of Berman, that he was on to perhaps multiple criminal investigations of Trump and his associates. And that Barr wished to corruptly shut the investigations down due to some combination of criminal liability and potential election surprises. How effective of a move by Barr could this be? Can Barr effectively shut down criminal investigations or have a corrupt agreement in place with his replacement that would allow for this? I would think multiple lower level prosecutors would begin blowing the whistle if not Berman himself. But I have no insight into the workings of a DOJ field office.

    • subtropolis says:

      Not so effective thus far. Berman simply told him to pound sand.
      Besides Giuliani/Lev&Igor, there’s also the tax returns; Deutsch Bank; Epstein; the Turkish money laundering (no doubt, Erdogan has been hounding Trump on that) What have I missed? It feels like SDNY has at least another half-dozen Trump-adjacent investigations ongoing.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It might be interesting to find out how close these were to going to grand juries or to court. Timing is everything here.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A Mafia boss is only as good as the protection he offers. Not protection from him – he’s allowed to do WTF he wants to his own people – but from others, especially the gubmint (and especially when he’s running it). But that’s not unique to the Mafia. It’s a function of power in governments where lack of accountability for in-groups is the norm, imperial governments chief among them.

    • Eskimo says:

      Parnas had motioned in January for Barr to recuse, as a friendly reminder. Too bad Billy, you’re done. Gopus delendus est ⚡️

  4. Eudorine says:

    Could it just be another diversionary tactic, to change the story from BLM, and make it about Trump intrigues again? Berman is a faithful Trump donor.

    • person1597 says:

      Will Billy Baroo come through for t_Rump & Roo_D?

      https://youtu.be/hJPg1Fivmqg

      Uhhh…..”According to Rep Don Beyer (D-VA), AG Barr “rushed so quickly to do damage control after being caught in a lie and an act of blatant corruption that he didn’t inform the Judiciary Committee Chair,” adding “What are they trying to cover up? This will not end here.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      An agent with no power of his own can say something until he’s baloo in the face. It’s not really so until the principal says it.

        • FL Resister says:

          Billy Barr appears awfully anxious for Geoffrey Berman to vacate his post.
          Unfortunately, someone just picked Billy up off of Black Lives Matter Blvd. after Trump’s bus was spotted leaving the scene so we’ll have to wait for his comments.
          Meanwhile, Berman was spotted showing up for work this morning at SDNY saying he has deadlines to meet.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          I keep telling myself that things cannot get more bizarre — but Trump now saying he didn’t fire Berman proves me wrong once again.

          • BroD says:

            On top of everything else, this is the most spectacular display of out & out incompetence I’ve ever witnessed!

            Out of popcorn…

      • bokeh9 says:

        That was my first thought: Does Trump have to sign a letter or other document?
        Also: Does said document need to show cause or stipulate grounds? Or is this one of those “pleasure of the President and we are not pleased” things?

        • Rugger9 says:

          Crossposted from last thread, it applies here as well:

          OLC opinions are not court rulings or law, and it is long past time to stop treating them as such.

          It appears AG Barr said DJT did fire Berman, only to be contradicted by DJT who said he left it to Barr (which would therefore violate the OLC opinion even if one accepts it). It seems that a court fight will be needed to remove Berman if Berman chooses to challenge the termination. That will take time and adds discovery to the process which cannot be good for this WH.

          Popcorn, anyone?

          Now, since the OLC opinion says POTUS must be the firing person, then there has to be a signature somewhere. Let’s also remember that autopens get used all of the time in administrations and I would expect more often in this WH than most others, so if Barr had autopen privileges, then we would have DJT’s signature on this. The idea of channeling Henry II (Will no one rid me of this impudent US Attorney?) would mean “plausible deniability” for DJT (he never actually did it, did he) with the message crystal clear for Barr. However, it probably was “Do what you need to do but keep my name off of it”.

              • Rugger9 says:

                Not at all too harsh. Once Berman laid that marker down, and DJT said he wasn’t involved, then Berman needed to make Barr produce the paper with DJT’s signature. That would make the corruption clear. Instead, he let DJT and Barr off the hook when he shouldn’t have. Sunlight needs to purge this WH of its corruption and hiding stuff like this (and Bolton too) makes it impossible to extirpate the criminality.

                I think there was “leverage” applied, but what it is we will probably never find out.

                • BobCon says:

                  MW is noting that Berman going makes it easier to testify to the House next week.

                  Give this some time to play out.

                    • Yohei72 says:

                      bmaz – IANALAYA (I Am Not A Lawyer And You Are), so I’d be interested to hear you expand a bit more on that. Why does it seem unlikely in your estimation?

                    • BobCon says:

                      Sure, even setting aside the legal issues involved in talking about one or more ongoing situations, working out the logistics of testifying in a few days isn’t easy, he has to think about the impact on the people still in the office, and I’m sure there’s plenty I can’t imagine.

                      I wouldn’t rule out some kind of response in an official forum or investigation at some point though. He seems pretty upset by whatever it is beyond just the personal level. It certainly seems hard to fathom calling him a coward and asking what his price was.

                • Yohei72 says:

                  And Berman’s refusal to knuckle under last night/this morning means Trump & Barr are stuck with his trusted deputy as Acting US Attorney, instead of the handpicked fill-in they wanted to bring over from New Jersey. It looks less to me like caving and more like playing chess.

                • Mitch Neher says:

                  Excerpted from the link above:

                  Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham . . . who said, Saturday, he had not been told about the effort to fire Berman . . . in a significant announcement . . . said he would honor tradition to let home-state senators sign off on a replacement for Berman’s post . . .

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        No one in Trump’s immediate family could manage their way out of a paper bag. But neither is there an upside to what the president seems to want done.

        Berman’s dismissal is questionable judgment, more likely gross mismanagement. It might also be straight-up obstruction, a felony (depending on the cases SDNY has going and what’s “intended”). Smudging intent and accountability, though, is a game plan, even if it is also an unintended consequence any time Trump tries to do something.

        None of that bodes well for Trump or Bill Barr. But I would watch for what does get done or derailed, because these bozos would have had to work mighty hard to do it.

        • Mitch Neher says:

          This particular train-wreck is beginning to have a Giuliani feel to the twisting of the handiwork:

          Fair is fair. If Biden can have Shokin fired, then Trump can have Berman fired, too. Na-na na-na naaa naaa.

          IIRC, Rudy claimed that he had had Barr’s permission to investigate Ukraine on behalf of the US as well as for the sake of his client, Trump.

          And what lawyer wouldn’t have a prosecutor fired for his client and his country??

  5. Zinsky says:

    Its astonishing to me that Rudolf Giuliani is not in jail after cavorting around the world, playing Inspector Clouseau with a bunch of Eastern European losers who make the Keystone Kops look like The A Team!

    • Rugger9 says:

      Chances are that is what was in the works when Berman was canned in the quantum mechanical sense. Remember he would have to file progress reports on his cases to AG Barr (who also apparently went up to NYC to check in with his snitches).

      My spidey sense says Berman fights this, and because he was appointed in the way that he was, he stands a far better chance to dig in and stay put than Preet Bharara did. As noted in the chattering class, it also depends on which judge gets assigned to the Berman filing when it occurs. Discovery ought to be spectacular.

      OT: I see that DJT’s pet SecNav will not restore CAPT Crozier to command of CVN-75 due to the “loss of confidence” in his conduct. That was something I predicted long ago when others were saying he had to be reinstated. That’s not how the Navy works, and SecNav’s statement also made it clear to me that Crozier’s future career will not include a flag unless DJT is out of the WH. Like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman (both are apparently on the Tarpeian Rock), retaliation is the order of the day.

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s pretty clear that it’s political retribution in both cases: the Navy’s own investigation found that Crozier did what he was supposed to do.

  6. Kevin Bullough says:

    Is it reasonable to assume that the professional lawyers within SDNY have been anticipating a wide variety of different potential assaults from the President (or his surrogates) for a very long time? Is it therefore also reasonable to presume that said professionals will have any number of contingency plans in place, ready to be activated at a moment’s notice?

    • skua says:

      “Contingency plans” were repeatedly said to be something that Mueller would have naturally had.
      I wouldn’t rely on, or even hope, that SNDY has more contingency plans than Mueller had.

  7. PeterS says:

    As mentioned in the other thread, Berman has accepted his firing, leaving things in the capable hands of his deputy. Who I hope cannot be fired….

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, she can be fired. She would be an interim appointee named by Bill Barr. He could fire her, but she has a lot of juice in NYC and Barr should be reluctant to fire her casually. Her term expires after 120 days or when her successor is nominated and approved by the Senate, whichever occurs first. If Barr fires her or her term expires, the resulting vacancy the SDNY judges could fill the same way they filled a vacancy by appointing Berman.

      Something tells me Trump’s attention span, fleeting at the best of times, will be no better four months from now. By then, he will feel he has more to hide, more reason to hide it, and more concerns about its exposure, but fewer resources with which to hide it. Which means more shite flowing over the top of the dam.

      • Marinela says:

        If she can be fired, then I don’t get why Berman thinks this is ok now for him to be out.
        What stops Barr to fire her?
        Is even better now. The optics of Trump needing to fire her are resolved. Trump is now in position to claim he was not involved in her firing. It was up to Barr.
        Barr seems to think he can weasel his way out of anything, with his double talk.
        And there will be no impeaching Barr by this Congress.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Geoff Berman’s tenure was under the non-controversial 28 USC 546, a specific statute created to address vacancies in USAs.

        Naturally, Bush/Cheney’s OLC (under AG John Ashcroft) concluded that that statute was too restrictive of presidential power – and didn’t allow sufficient gaming of the Senate confirmation process.

        It opined that USA vacancies could also be filled under the more general Federal Vacancies Reform Act, or by using both statutes in sequence. That arrangement would dramatically extend the term of interim USAs – and the time allowed to avoid the Senate confirmation process. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS21412.pdf

  8. Savage Librarian says:

    Dunno Didnot

    Lotto for the West Wing-nut,
    It’s all a show but who forgot,
    Hot air windbag, you’ll get caught,
    Dunno dunno, didnot didnot.

    Quid pro quo and then spin it,
    Head to toe and alt-right pivot,
    Vertigo as you begin it,
    Laid low elbow, there’s no limit.

    Status quo sighs let’s inhibit,
    Dynamo has just the pin it,
    Combo knows just how to fit it.
    Gusto winks and wants to win it.

    Promo nods with a trinket,
    Uh-oh calls out just a minute,
    Domino falls to the Senate,
    Heave ho, it’s now time to thin it.

    Lotto for the West Wing-nut,
    It’s all a show but who forgot,
    Hot air windbag, you’ll get caught,
    Dunno dunno, didnot didnot.

  9. milestogo says:

    Now that this mini drama is over without any major damage, I’m looking forward to Trump losing Mazars and Vance this week.

  10. Frank Anon says:

    I dunno, it just feels like Barr is playing an endless game of whack-a-mole to get his client free of horrendous legal exposure. The methods are becoming more and more desperate and illegal, as if ultimately the only plausible end game is to eliminate the system as functioning itself. Troubling.

    That’s why I think Trump doesn’t pardon Stone or Flynn, but instead try to usurp the system to get them off. A pardon opens those two to the legal system, with all sorts of free passes to account the crimes of Trump. The more variables you introduce, the harder to control

  11. Jenny says:

    A bit off topic; article about Fiona Hill and what she learned in WH, the many individuals she came across in Trump-land, plus the Ukrainian issue. Interesting.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/06/29/what-fiona-hill-learned-in-the-white-house

    “In April, Hill met with Ukrainian energy officials, including Andriy Kobolyev, the C.E.O. of Naftogaz, Ukraine’s national gas-and-oil company, and his deputy, Andrew Favorov, to discuss a plan to buy from the U.S. large quantities of liquefied natural gas to tide the country over in the event that Russia cut off its supply. The Ukrainian delegation did not mention that they were about to meet with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Ukrainian-American business associates of Giuliani, and Tommy Hicks, a wealthy private investor and a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr.”

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