The Two Impeachment Treason Trip: Ukraine Charges Rudy Giuliani’s Sources

Yesterday, Ukraine’s SBU charged with treason three of the people from whom Rudy Giuliani sought dirt on the Bidens to help Donald Trump get reelected. The announcement names Andrii Derkach and Kostyantyn Kulyk and describes someone that Politico reports to be Oleksandr Dubinsky.

The allegations say the threesome took $10 million from Russia’s GRU to discredit Ukraine.

“The main task of this organization was to take advantage of the tense political situation in Ukraine and discredit our state in the international arena. For this, the group was getting money from Russian military intelligence. Financing amounted to more than $10 million,” SBU said.

According to SBU, Dubinsky, guided by GRU, spread fake news about Ukraine’s military and political leadership, including claims that high-ranking Ukrainian officials were interfering in U.S. presidential elections. SBU said the Ukraine group was run by GRU deputy head Vladimir Alekseyev and his deputy Oleksiy Savin.

The propaganda described in the announcement preceded but is closely linked to Rudy’s December 5, 2019 trip to Kyiv to obtain dirt from Derkach. This Just Security timeline provides a good summary of how the trip to Kyiv — right in the middle of House impeachment proceedings — fit into Rudy’s year-long effort to find campaign dirt.

Why wasn’t Rudy ever charged?

The US Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach for election interference on September 10, 2020. Treasury added Kulyk, Dubinsky, and several other Derkach associates on January 11, 2021.

On September 26, 2022, EDNY charged Derkach with sanctions violations and money laundering. On January 23, 2023, EDNY superseded that indictment to add Derkach’s wife. On December 7, 2022, EDNY moved to seize a condo it claims the couple owns in Beverly Hills.

The Intelligence Community knew of Rudy’s trip to meet Derkach before he went to Kyiv and warned Trump, but Trump did not care.

The warnings to the White House, which have not previously been reported, led national security adviser Robert O’Brien to caution Trump in a private conversation that any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia, one of the former officials said.

The message was, “Do what you want to do, but your friend Rudy has been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine,” this person said. Officials wanted “to protect the president from coming out and saying something stupid,” particularly since he was facing impeachment over his own efforts to strong-arm Ukraine’s president into investigating the Bidens.

But O’Brien emerged from the meeting uncertain whether he had gotten through to the president. Trump had “shrugged his shoulders” at O’Brien’s warning, the former official said, and dismissed concern about his lawyer’s activities by saying, “That’s Rudy.”


Several senior administration officials “all had a common understanding” that Giuliani was being targeted by the Russians, said the former official who recounted O’Brien’s intervention. That group included Attorney General William P. Barr, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

Later reporting made, then retracted a claim, that the FBI had warned Rudy before he made the trip to Kyiv.

At the time Rudy made the trip to Kyiv, he was already under investigation, by SDNY, for serving as an unregistered agent of a different Ukrainian dealing dirt, Yuri Lutsenko, an investigation that grew out of the campaign finance prosecution of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. SDNY obtained warrants for Rudy’s iCloud account on November 4, 2019 and, in April 2021, seized 18 devices from the former President’s attorney. That investigation concluded with no charges in August 2022. Rudy’s lawyer, Robert Costello, subsequently revealed that a number of the devices FBI seized in April 2021 were corrupted and therefore useless to the investigation, which likely is a big part of the reason Rudy was not charged by SDNY.

But Rudy was never charged for his ties to known Russian agent Derkach, either. Indeed, the Derkach indictment was written to focus on his NABULeaks site, attacking Ukrainian efforts to combat corruption; it does not mention Rudy (though it does mention that his sanctions pertained to the 2020 election).

Not only wasn’t Rudy charged, but he was permitted to share the information he obtained while in Ukraine directly with DOJ.

How that happened remains among Bill Barr’s most corrupt and complex machinations, one that deserves far more attention given the ongoing efforts to gin up a Ukraine-related impeachment against Joe Biden.

On January 3, 2020 — less than a month after Rudy met Derkach and while Trump’s first impeachment remained pending — Barr tasked Pittsburgh US Attorney Scott Brady with the “discreet” assignment of ingesting dirt from the public, primarily meaning Rudy, to “vet.”

Brady’s recent deposition before the House Judiciary Committee revealed he did little real vetting. What he did do, though, was to query prosecutors in SDNY about the ongoing investigation into Rudy and obtain “interrogatories” from prosecutors in Delaware about the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden. He also spoke with prosecutors investigating Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoyskyi, two of three Ukrainian oligarchs from whom Rudy had also solicited dirt.

Brady also spoke with DC investigators who — according to Chuck Grassley — had just one month earlier, right in the middle of the impeachment effort directly tied to Burisma, shut down an investigation into Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky, the third Ukrainian oligarch from whom Rudy solicited dirt. From the DC investigators, Brady learned of a passing reference to Hunter Biden in a 2017 informant report, which led Brady to reinterview the same informant. The informant revealed that in a late 2019 phone conversation, one that almost certainly took place during impeachment, Zlochevsky claimed to have bribed Joe Biden in such a way that it would take ten years of searching to find the payoff.

In his HJC deposition, Brady admitted that Rudy did not tell him — and his team did not seek out any information — about the President’s lawyer’s efforts to solicit dirt from Zlochevsky.

Q Okay. But you never asked, for example, the House Permanent Select Committee investigators or anyone associated with that investigation to do a similar inquiry for evidence relating to Zlochevsky?

A No, I don’t believe we did.

Q Okay. And, like you said, you were not aware that this interview had taken place in 2019. Is that fair to say?

A I don’t believe I was, no.

Q Okay. And anyone on your team, as far as you know, was not aware that Mr. Zlochevsky had been interviewed at the direction of Giuliani before your assessment began?

A I don’t believe so.

In September 2020, Brady provided Richard Donoghue with a report on the results of his “vetting.” On October 23, 2020, Brady’s investigators briefed David Weiss’ investigators on the FD-1023 describing the late 2019 Zlochevsky claim of bribery. Weiss claims that aspect of his investigation remains ongoing, and Republicans have made the FD-1023 part of their impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden.

But Barr did more than provide a way for Rudy to share information obtained from a known Russian agent such that it might be used in the investigation into Joe Biden’s son and, now, an impeachment stunt targeting Joe Biden himself. He also ensured that SDNY would not be able to expand their investigation to cover Rudy’s dalliances with Derkach.

On January 17, 2020, Jeffrey Rosen issued a memo making the US Attorney in EDNY — then Richard Donoghue, but Donoghue would swap places in July 2020 with Seth DuCharme, who was at the time overseeing the Brady tasking — a gatekeeper over all Ukraine-related investigations.

Any and all new matters relating to Ukraine shall be directed exclusivelyl to EDNY for investigation and appropriate handling. Unless otherwise directed, existing matters covered by this memorandum shall remain in the Offices and components where they currently are being handled, subject to ongoing consultation with EDNY. Any widening or expansion of existing matters shall require prior consultation with and approval by my office and EDNY.

This memo had the known effect of prohibiting SDNY from following the evidence where their existing investigation into Rudy Giuliani would naturally lead — to Rudy’s relationship with known Russian agent Andrii Derkach.

Geoffrey Berman’s book revealed that Barr also prohibited the New York FBI Field Office — which supports investigations in both SDNY and EDNY — from obtaining the 302s from Brady’s January interviews with Rudy.

There were FBI reports of those meetings, called 302s, which we wanted to review. So did Sweeney. Sweeney’s team asked the agents in Pittsburgh for a copy and was refused. Sweeney called me up, livid.

“Geoff, in all my years with the FBI I have never been refused a 302,” he said. “This is a total violation of protocol.”

This would have prevented SDNY from holding Rudy accountable for any lies he told Brady and prevented EDNY from obtaining Rudy’s first-hand account about where he obtained his dirt and what he had to trade to get it. That may explain why Rudy doesn’t show up in Derkach’s indictment.

But Barr wasn’t done with his efforts to protect Rudy from any consequences for his dalliance with a known Russian agent. In June 2020, Barr fired Geoffrey Berman in an attempt to shut down the ongoing “tentacles” of the investigation into Rudy.

The reason Rudy Giuliani was not charged for soliciting election disinformation from a known Russian agent is that the Attorney General of the United States set up a system that separated the investigation of that Russian agent from the investigation of Rudy, all while channeling whatever disinformation Rudy obtained from Derkach (or Zlochevsky) into the investigation of Joe Biden’s son.

It’s that simple. Bill Barr set up a system that protected Russian disinformation and made sure it could be laundered into the Hunter Biden investigation and also protected the President’s personal lawyer from any consequences for soliciting that Russian disinformation from a known Russian agent.

That’s why Rudy Giuliani wasn’t charged.

How does this relate to the “Hunter Biden” laptop?

The system that Barr set up absolutely has to do with the FD-1023 that remains part of both the Biden impeachment effort and the Hunter Biden criminal investigation.

There’s far less evidence that Rudy’s effort has anything to do with the “Hunter Biden” laptop.

To be sure, Lev Parnas has described that in May 2019 — the month after the laptop ultimately shared with the FBI was dropped off in Wilmington — he first learned that people were shopping a laptop with dirt on Hunter Biden, though he understood it to be one stolen in 2014, not 2019.

At the same time, the BLT Team was exploring many different angles to get information on the Bidens. In June, Giuliani asked me to accompany him to a lunch in New York with Vitaly Pruss, a Russian businessman who claimed to have deep connections to Burisma, including with Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer, and had recommended powerful people to Zlochevsky that he should put on the company’s board. During this meeting, Pruss shared a story with us: He said earlier that year, while doing business related to Burisma, he had taken Hunter Biden to meet Kazakhstan’s minister of foreign affairs, and that Biden had gotten substantially intoxicated with drugs and alcohol on this trip. While he was incapacitated, his laptop was compromised and copied by a representative of FSB (Russia’s secret police) and members of Zlochevsky’s team.

It’s important to note that certain aspects of Pruss’s story are verifiably true. This trip with Hunter Biden did happen, and his computer hard drives were taken and duplicated. But Pruss specified that while the contents of the laptop were personally embarrassing to Hunter Biden – pictures of him doing drugs and surrounded by girls — there was no evidence of financial crimes or any data on his laptop that suggested illegal activities of any other kind, which is the sort of proof that Giuliani desperately needed. Pruss never mentioned anything about the hard drives containing criminal information, only the embarrassing images. It was not until Giuliani began disseminating the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop that the idea of proof of financial and political crimes was introduced.

Parnas also described that he expected to obtain a hard drive from Hunter’s laptop on the trip to Vienna that got preempted by his arrest.

In the early part of October 2019, I got a call telling me to go to Vienna with Giuliani, where the former Chief Financial Officer of Burisma, Alexander Gorbunenko, would meet Giuliani and give us Hunter Biden’s hard drive and answer any questions we had.

The timing of the known laptop parallels Rudy’s efforts in chilling fashion.

The laptop ultimately shared with the FBI was first linked to Hunter Biden’s Apple account in October 2018, at the beginning of Rudy’s efforts to solicit dirt on Biden.

On a November 14, 2018 check, Hunter linked his Fox News pundit shrink to a Russian or Ukrainian-linked escort service he was frequenting at the time — likely the same escort service on which the investigation, now entering its sixth year, was first predicated. But that reference on a check memo line could as easily be explained by addiction or his efforts to cover up or write off such expenses.

Most of the materials on the laptop got packaged up in January and February 2019 while Hunter was again receiving treatment from his Fox News pundit shrink. At the time, Hunter may have had limited access to the Internet, much less the ability to package all that up. The laptop ultimately shared with the FBI was packaged up at a time when Hunter also had a different, older laptop in his possession that was ultimately left at the guest house of the Fox News pundit shrink.

The laptop ultimately shared with the FBI was delivered to the Delaware repair shop — by someone who had access to Hunter Biden’s phone and credit card — in April 2019.

Depending on whether you believe John Paul Mac Isaac or the FBI, JPMI’s father first reached out to the FBI about the laptop hours before or seven days after Parnas was arrested, either October 9 or October 16, 2019. The FBI ultimately obtained the laptop on December 9, 2019, days before the House voted to impeach Donald Trump, and the same month when (per Chuck Grassley) Barr’s DOJ shut down an investigation into Zlochevsky, the guy whose former CFO had been offering Rudy such a hard drive two months earlier. If you can believe JPMI (and you probably can’t), the FBI tried to boot up the laptop before obtaining any known warrant for it.

The day after the IRS obtained a warrant for the laptop on December 13, 2019, one of Barr’s aides texted him on his private phone to let him know they were sending him a laptop.

And then months after Barr jerry-rigged a system to ingest dirt from Russian spies into the investigation of Hunter Biden while protecting Rudy, in August 2020, JPMI shared a hard drive of the materials from that very same laptop with Rudy Giuliani, the same guy who had solicited dirt from Burisma in October 2019 and from a Russian agent back in December 2019.

After the NYPost first revealed the laptop, Rudy dismissed concerns that it may have come from Russian spies and even called obtaining it an “extension” of his earlier efforts to obtain such dirt, including (if you can believe Parnas) a laptop from Zlochevsky’s former CFO.

But that’s some Deep State talk, he added. “The chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50.”


Asked, for instance, whether he was concerned if the materials he obtained might in some way be linked to the hacking of Burisma late last year—an act attributed to Russian intelligence—Giuliani said: “Wouldn’t matter. What’s the difference?”


Giuliani said he viewed his latest leak to the New York Post as an extension of his years-long efforts to work with Ukrainians to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

According to Scott Brady, Rudy never told him he had obtained the laptop, even though Rudy got it before Brady submitted his report to Donoghue in September 2020.

There are a great deal of remarkable coincidences in the parallel timelines of Barr’s complex system to obtain dirt on Hunter Biden while protecting Rudy and the timeline of the laptop first shared with the FBI and then shared with Rudy. But thus far that’s all they are: coincidences.

There’s not even proof — at least not publicly — that anyone besides Hunter Biden packaged up the laptop that ultimately got shared with the FBI. To the extent someone did, there’s more evidence implicating American rat-fuckers than Russian ones.

There are a great deal of questions about how the laptop got packaged up and the legality of JPMI’s sharing of it with anyone but the FBI. But for now, those are different questions than the questions about Rudy’s efforts to solicit dirt from a Russian agent.

Did John Durham meet these same Russian agents on behalf of Barr?

There’s one more question these charges in Ukraine raise, however: Whether John Durham met with one or several of these men Ukraine now accuses of working for Russian spies.

On the day that Treasury sanctioned Kulyk and Dubinsky, January 11, 2021, Durham sent an aide some group chats he had participated in with Barr’s top aides in September 2019, just as the impeachment panic started.

Those group chats, which Durham referred back to on the day Derkach’s associates were sanctioned, seem to have arisen out of a panic Barr had on the morning of September 24, 2019, the day the White House would release the Volodymyr Zelenskyy transcript showing that Trump asked the Ukrainian President to deal dirt on the Bidens to both his Attorney General and personal lawyer.

“Call me ASAP,” the Attorney General texted Durham that morning, followed almost twelve hours later by Durham asking to speak, possibly for a second time.

The next day, September 25, DOJ issued a statement revealing that Durham had received information from several Ukrainians who weren’t part of government.

A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said Wednesday. “While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”

That’s what led up to the group chats Durham would share months later.

At 3:44 PM on September 26, the day the White House released the whistleblower complaint, someone from Durham’s team — probably Durham himself — participated in a chat with 8 people.

Less than an hour later, a bunch of people — including Will Levi, Seth DuCharme (who would be in charge of Scott Brady’s “vetting” project and then take over any investigation in EDNY), and “John” — convened in a lobby bar together, waiting for Barr to arrive.

The following day, when Kurt Volker resigned, there was another group chat, the second one Durham would share months later.

Barr was still focused on CYA regarding his own involvement. In advance of Lindsey Graham going on the Sunday shows that weekend, Barr made sure to get Lindsey his statement claiming not to have spoken to the Ukrainians personally.


Later on October 2, Kerri Kupec apologized to Barr that “Sadie” hadn’t gotten editors to change a particular story, probably a reference to this WSJ story, which discusses Barr’s request that Trump give introductions to some foreign leaders.

On October 30, the day after the Democrats released the impeachment resolution, Kupec sent Barr the statement he had made about Ukraine back in September.

A minute later Barr sent that statement to Will Levi, with no further comment.

There’s far more about Barr’s panic as impeachment unrolled in 2019, as I laid out here.

The panic likely includes Eric Herschmann, who was then in private practice but who would join Trump’s impeachment defense and then ultimately serve as a babysitter for Trump in the White House. While at the White House, Hershmann pitched the “laptop” to the WSJ before Rudy discredited it.

But one thing is clear: In the wake of the disclosure that Trump asked Zelenskyy to work with Barr in addition to Rudy, Barr attempted to pawn off any contacts with Ukraine onto Durham — an effort that appears to have been discussed in both group chats and a face-to-face meeting in a hotel bar.

And then, over three months later, on the day that Rudy’s sources were sanctioned, two of whom were just charged with treason along with Derkach, Durham revisited those group chats.

That may explain why Barr worked so hard to ensure that Rudy never faced consequences for soliciting disinformation from a known Russian agent.

Update: Fixed timing of Parnas arrest per zscore.

74 replies
  1. Rugger_9 says:

    I think the person with access to HB’s credit card and phone is Ablow. As HB’s personal shrink he’d need to be on call and have the bills paid on time. Ablow in this scenario would violate all sorts of professional ethics to forward the opportunity along, not that Ablow cares about ethics beyond the law of the jungle.

    However, it does make me wonder about Durham’s exposure as well. Footsie with Russian sources in this way is doubtful application of his job description but Barr had to try to limit his own exposure if he was going to make Durham the fall guy. While Durham may not face accountability for his SC witch hunt, criminal charges for espionage will do for me if it’s a possibility.

    • emptywheel says:

      Anyone with access to the laptop had access to his credit card and easy ability to hijack his phone. Hell, half the world has access to the Wells Fargo card he was using at the time.

        • emptywheel says:

          There are suspect accesses to Hunter’s Apple (and Venmo) accounts well before Hunter ever came across Ablow.

          The problem is, w/o subpoena power, you can’t distinguish what’s the normal traffic of a junkie losing his things and what is a more formal compromise.

      • Upisdown says:

        That degree of information abuse should not be covered under any abandoned property rules. Mac Isaac should be held liable.

  2. Dunnydone says:

    This is epic. Ok so…. Not only did we have an Russian asset sitting in Oval Office for 4 years… we basically had someone; that someone being AG of USA, working to ensure Russian interests over US were paramount while obstructing justice of the entire justice dept while we were being attacked via proxy war physically and digitally… how do these people not end up of like Benedict Arnold? Seriously?

    They’re corrupted our already corrupted legal system at the highest levels….

    We can’t Pretend things are ok anymore…..

    What is a real way to change this? A president, AG, Supreme Court justices and members of senate and Congress all compromised. Compromised completely.

    We need to come up with a new term when you totally Betray your country and literally sell them out but can’t be accused of treason… I think George Washington might have a different opinion on use of that word along with some practical application of saving this country from the brink….

    Moral decay mixed with total targeted compromise of leaders…

    And emptywheel being then only site on web with a clue of how bad this is and what they’ll do to keep the bad times rolling…

    Give the Russians all the credit… they aren’t fighting fair and their results in this endeavor are disgustingly sublime….

    The fact we’re not doing the same thing to them we’re doing to us silly and all part of their plan

    Seriously, any pragmatic suggestions that live in confines of law or whatever laws the bad guys are following

    • ExRacerX says:

      Is English your second language? Numerous article and preposition issues here.

      If not, you may want to slow down: “an” Russian asset; “AG of USA”; “Russian interests over US”; “how do these people not end up of like Benedict Arnold?”

      …and that’s just the first paragraph.

      • Dunnydone says:

        Sorry. It’s my dyslexia and mild autism mixed with a bit of panic. Sorry I didn’t know that we were getting graded on grammar

        “We” as in America, I have continually exposed how EW needs to get injected into main steam media to better, more simply explain the complex decade plus long specific foreign Intel operation going on against us(A)

        And no offense to anyone here, but unless you were in the private dining room in vegas while all these crooks carved up Ukraine and our country a decade ago… then I guess my passion for democracy might come across as a little frantic.

        As this is a mess of epic proportions to this country and freedom at large.

    • Sue Romano says:

      I think about this every damn day; I’m somewhat comforted by the press conference in Geneva when President Biden said, ‘I don’t know if there will be a Republican party’ and the reporter shamed Putin when asking why his opponents fear being poisoned.

  3. silatserak says:

    Non lawyer
    My apologies if I missed information about Garland picking up the ball and going after Rudi from day one. Did that happen? If not why not?

      • emptywheel says:

        Adding: What is not in the post but which I have written about probably 20 times is that the warrant for Rudy’s phones was approved on Lisa Monaco’s first day on the job. So literally day one for the DAG, who would have to approve it.

  4. Mike Stone says:

    Billy Barr did a lot to protect Trump from several investigations. My questions is whether Jack Smith has the receipts on these activities and what may happen down the road.

    While Barr was Trump’s toady as the USAG, he has been promoting a new story that he is shocked by Trump’s actions.

    No one should ever allow him to force feed the public this crap.

  5. Badger Robert says:

    One side is operating under the rules of war in which deception and lying is permitted. The opposition is trying to save the constitution while trying to stay within constitutional limits.
    As this goes on its understandable how President Lincoln began to arrest people in Maryland and how he came to disregard the rulings of courts.
    MSNBC reported on leaks obtained by ABC from the Georgia RICO case. It looked like double hearsay to me. Its convincing in the media world, though I don’t see how it becomes evidence against the loser of the last Presidential election.

    • emptywheel says:

      Those leaks almost certainly came from one of the defendants–I’m guessing, Trump.

      Willis has applied for an emergency protective order since the leaks.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Someone leaked it, and I would agree it’s likely the defense for one of the crew.

        I’m wondering what Inmate P01135089 gains by leaking this stuff. If the proffer is under oath, both Powell and Ellis are stuck and cannot really change their tune later. The net effect so far is to make them MAGA targets which I think qualifies as witness tampering, but the testimony speaks for itself. It’s that bad, and I don’t see the benefit for the cost of those details ringing bells for the jurors later.

        When would the proffer tapes be turned over to the criminal case defendants, if ever? That might establish a timeline for ABC getting these if you’re correct about the source.

      • fatvegan000 says:

        I heard this evening that Harrison Floyd admitted to the leak, but no reason was given as to why he did it.

        It sounds like this could benefit the defendants? Another reason given was that it was to intimidate the witnesses.

        One other thing (that maybe I might have misunderstood), but it seems that DA Willis had asked Judge McAfee up front to do an order so this couldn’t happen but he wouldn’t (sorry, I don’t have the technical words for this).

        • bmaz says:

          I’d like to see where “DA Willis” oh so piously tried to protect that cat so far out of the bag with a judge refusing. I guess this is it. But this stuff never gets out without the knowledge, if not outright participation, of the prosecution. Who has control of it? The state, that’s who.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Except this was part of the discovery due to the defense teams. And, that’s who leaked it, the defense team.

          So, it appears McAfee is now sequestering these proffers and problematic interviews (whatever the legal term is) unless and until the item becomes a possible piece of trial evidence. I would also speculate that if Willis had asked for this order up-front the squeals about restricting defense access would be deafening from the RWNM. Look at the nonsense around Judge Chutkan’s very limited gag order for why Willis and McAfee waited for the defense teams to screw up before putting the order in place.

          In the grand scheme of things these were at best confirmations of what we already suspected. And, FWIW, the RWNM is already piling on Ellis in particular. Since Sidney tried to play the coercion card, she’s gotten off (slightly) lighter, for now. DA Willis says they do not affect her cases, but we’ll see.

        • bmaz says:

          No, it is not. All state disclosure flows from the prosecutor. Always. If Willis wanted this to be protected, it would be protected. I would like to thank all the experts for splaining criminal law and disclosure to me though.

          Also, too, invoking “treason” is laughable.

        • bmaz says:

          Because Fulton County is full of shit. Why are you citing something from a month and a half ago?, not yet ruled on??

        • fatvegan000 says:

          It was Misty Hamilton’s lawyer that gave out the videos, not Floyd’s –
          I must have mixed the video release up with the bond revoking thing.
          Sorry about that.

  6. Spencer Dawkins says:

    I apologize for being confused, but I don’t understand what’s meant by “packaging up a laptop”.

    I’m guessing (based on context clues) this refers to someone delivering Hunter Biden’s laptop to John Paul Mac Isaac’s Delaware repair shop in April 2019, and that’s the same laptop that was eventually picked up by the FBI, but this Long Strange Trip includes so many “Hunter Biden laptops”, including “laptops” that aren’t even laptops, because they’re from iCloud, that I can’t be confident that I know what you mean.

    • Fraud Guy says:

      IIRC, some of the iCloud downloads started before the “original” Biden “laptop” showed up in the shop, and the FBI almost studiously avoided standard digital evidence preservation (pulled data/ran apps from the original as opposed to from an image), so the Ship of Theseus is likely OEM compared to any version of the laptop that currently exists.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’ve got a post in process on it.

      Suffice it to say there was WAYYYYY more content on the laptop than it is conceivable that Hunter would have had on a 4-month old laptop, even assuming he was using the laptop as his primary one. And the kinds of things on there not only added lethal content for the purposes of revenge porn, but also made follow-on hacks of Hunter child’s play.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I’d encourage you to be very careful about your assumptions here. My newest computer has files going back to my floppy-disk only computer from 1990. It’s not that hard to preserve files over the years.

        Or did I misunderstand something?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You’re ignoring whose computer this purports to be. HB does not sound like the kind of guy who saves things, or uses them as templates or for useful history or context. He seems to be hanging onto today as best he can. And as was true of Brian Wilson back in the day, not everyone in his orbit has really been helping him.

          If there’s a surplus of material on that computer, I read EW as saying it’s unlikely to have come from HB.

        • freebird says:

          If Hunter Biden had the skills to preserve obsolete files caused by new operating systems, he would not have taken it to Isaac in the first place. I learned my lesson when I did not transfer files from Windows 95 immediately after buying a new computer. All my LOTUS123 work had to be done over.

          Frankly, Hunter Biden was so addled and naive not to inquire about the privacy of the data files when turning it over for repairs. I asked Best Buy about privacy and they told me that NYS laws prohibit disclosing anything in the files except for child porn which must be reported to the police.

        • P J Evans says:

          You’re assuming he did. Remember, mac Isaac can’t identify the person who left the computer, and didn’t get a name or phone number at the time. So it could have been brought in by *anyone*.

        • emptywheel says:

          You have that on your laptop because you moved everything over.

          That’s not what happened with this one. Things were packed up in a period in January and February 2019.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          “Packed up” or “Backed up?”

          And are you saying that you are completely certain that no files were moved to the new laptop from an iCloud backup, or example, or via a USB stick, or maybe with help from a technician? Because this is really easy to do, even for an average person. Depending on the kind of cloud storage in use, it might even have happened automatically.

          I love the way you’re so far ahead of the rest of the reporters, and you do great work, but you could build an entire chain of useless and reputation-destroying assumptions if you’re wrong about this particular fact. Rayne can certainly help you with the technical aspects, as can others here. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me (you collect my email address regularly…) if you’d like, though I’m not an expert at Mac. But you really don’t want to get this one wrong!

        • Rayne says:

          I don’t do anything whatsoever with any iOS-based devices. I’m also not following the mythic laptop as closely as Marcy is; I can only say that the “laptop” is a McGuffin like the “single server” Trump demanded in relation to the DNC’s hacking.

          Your cautions are noted but I’m sure Marcy has access to people with ample expertise and will certainly not need to ask for help from someone who admits they are “not an expert at Mac.”

      • TPA_kyle says:

        IANAL but the chain of custody for Hunter Biden’s laptop is wack! How is any of it admissible as evidence?

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Not in open court, especially after Abbe Lowell gets through with it. That’s why the GOP is featuring the ‘laptop’ in the Comer/Jordan hearings where fair play and the rules of evidence do not apply.

  7. earthworm says:

    jeepus — Barr really is in the running for the John Mitchell Award!
    I think many readers here at EW were at least dimly aware of what all the switching and firing in SDNY and EDNY signified; also in late 2020 what the replacements in key positions in the military portended.
    Dr EW clinches it and hits it out of the park. so to speak.

  8. vigetnovus says:

    This certainly puts the actions of Hershmann, Donoghue, Rosen and Cipollone in and around the events of January 6th in a whole ‘nother light now, doesn’t it?

    And don’t forget, Mary Barr Daly, Bill’s daughter, was a top lawyer at FinCEN at Treasury. Certainly she would’ve had a heads-up about the coming sanctioning of Kulyk and Dubinsky, probably in December of 2020. Barr submitted his resignation letter December 14,2020, effective December 23rd. That would have been right after it was clear that Trump wasn’t going to stay in office under any legal pretense at least.

    Also of interest, December 17th, Jeff Jensen EDMO USA and “vetter” of the Flynn case (and whose FBI agents may have doctored Pete Strzok’s notes), announced his resignation effective December 30th.

    There certainly is an interesting narrative developing here…

    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

      “This certainly puts the actions of Hershmann, Donoghue, Rosen and Cipollone in and around the events of January 6th in a whole ‘nother light now, doesn’t it?”
      OMG! Patsy Baloney–how I’ve missed ye, laddie!

  9. Purple Martin says:

    Yesterday, Ukraine’s SBU charged with treason three of the people from whom Rudy Giuliani sought dirt on the Bidens to help Donald Trump get reelected. The announcement names Andrii Derkach and Kostyantyn Kulyk and describes someone that Politico reports to be Oleksandr Dubinsky.

    btw (and I think Marcy’s covered this before), you don’t have to dig very deep into the George Santos story before bumping into those same names. I hope the House Ethics Committee’s Santos Report (promised Friday), will be updated with this information.

    [and I’m glad the edit’s back—I usually don’t mess up the blockquote but did this time]

  10. Legonaut says:

    MotherJones is reporting that the home of FBI agent Jonathan Buma was raided by federal agents today:

    “Federal agents on Monday raided the Los Angeles-area home of an FBI whistleblower who has alleged that bureau higher-ups thwarted an investigation of Rudy Giuliani, two sources said. The whistleblower, FBI agent Jonathan Buma, has said that Giuliani “may have been compromised” by Russian intelligence while working as a lawyer for Donald Trump.”

    • timbozone says:

      That’s very interesting. If Buma’s lawyer’s quotes from the article are correct, that would certainly point to retaliation.

      • vigetnovus says:

        Marcy’s alluded to the idea that Buma may not be what he appears to be. Consider that Shipley and Ziegler both claimed whistleblower status as well…and they may have affirmatively committed investigational misconduct. Claiming whistleblower status is a handy way to avoid repercussions from an investigation.

  11. zscoreUSA says:

    Nice write up. I will definitely re-read & read again.

    There’s an error in the timeline though, date of Parnas arrest Oct 9 not Oct 10 which is when it became public. This date involves the one discrepancy btw Mac Isaac & Shapley that stood out to me enough to commit to memory – the day that Mac Isaac’s dad goes to the FBI Albuquerque office with the hard drive and copy of paperwork, which JPMI call’s “D-Day”.

    Parnas is arrested on October 9 at Dulles airport, after a magistrate in NY signs the warrant.

    According to Mac Isaac, his father went to FBI Albuquerque at 12 EST the *same exact day*, October 9, and either finished just before or concurrent to Parnas arrest. What are the odds of that, huh?

    But per Shapley, Mac Isaac’s father went there on October 16 exactly 1 week later. Personally, I believe Shapley’s date as he is doing an official govt investigation. (And to my knowledge, Mac Isaac did not put the date into his complaint, interested to see what discovery will show in Mac Isaac v Biden.)

    I find this discrepancy significant as an October 16 “D-Day” could be a plan B reaction to Parnas failed efforts to get the Hunter data to the DOJ. And Mac Isaac trying move his date up to dispel that notion. Mac Isaac describes elsewhere in the book that he works in weekly cycles, so if he were to make up an earlier date, it would make sense that he picked a date exactly a week before the real date, the same day of week. He claims that on September 24 they decided on October 9. Mac Isaac writes that is when he drafted a letter of help to Giuliani, though doesn’t appear to send until nearly a year later. (pages 57-58)

    • emptywheel says:

      Ah, right about October 9. Will fix that.

      Am very aware of the discrepancy between JPMI and Shapley — I’ve got a post partly written on it. Hadn’t thought about the week cycle explanation for the discrepancy.

      Another discrepancy I’m more interested in now is the actual meeting date: November 19 (JPMI) versus November 7 (Shapley).

  12. dopefish says:

    These assholes make revealing little slips all the time.

    Asked, for instance, whether he was concerned if the materials he obtained might in some way be linked to the hacking of Burisma late last year—an act attributed to Russian intelligence—Giuliani said: “Wouldn’t matter. What’s the difference?”

    Yeah! Real dirt for smearing the Bidens, or fake dirt cobbled together by Russian intelligence for smearing the Bidens–whats the difference?

    Its people like Barr and Giuliani that give the legal profession a bad name.

  13. zscoreUSA says:

    Question about Nov 14 escort service check. Why use “likely” instead of “possibly” to describe being the center of predicating the IRS investigation?

    Has the “UK amateur pornography company” been identified? Was that specific escort tied to that company? [for some reason, Shapley’s attachment 14 redacts the country “UK” but attachment 9 does not]

    Shapley writes Hunter “made payments to a U.S. contractor, who also had received payments from that U.K.
    company”, which “fail[ed] to report and withhold tax on
    payments made to U.S. contractors.”

    I haven’t seen yet the name of the company or ties to a specific “contractor” or “escort “. Has the info been determined?

    Also, as suspicious as the relationship to Ablow and the check listing his business in the memo is, Hunter’s family/employees were looking at his expenses, in particular bills to Ablow, while he was telling them he was at rehab. So, IMHO, the null hypothesis is that was what going there, just obscuring and creating a narrative for his family.

  14. zscoreUSA says:

    And another item here which stands out to me. Does anyone else see a problem with the narrative Parnas is presenting?

    In the October 2020 Politico article he’s on record saying the Kazakhstan trip where an FSB operation to compromise the data/device would have occurred was 2014. But how would a 2014 compromise end up with 2019 data on it? The laptop owner by 2019 has new devices and new passwords.

    Meanwhile, in 2023, when Parnas has different social media influence and audience, writes the letter to Comer, and does not say directly “2014” for laptop compromise date. In the quote above in the article, Parnas says “At the same time” and “that year” while discussing events from 2019. Doesn’t that leave the impression that Parnas is describing FSB compromise in Kazakhstan taking place in 2019 and not a more plausible 2014? Is this a deliberate conflating of events? In a letter to Congress, presumably read/vetted by the lawyer he cited later in the letter. To give credibility to Parnas’s narrative for data/laptop at play in May 2019 and October 2019.

    The Mac Isaac laptop has already been set in motion in April 2019, after, as this website has described data being packaged up and downloaded Jan/Feb 2019 onto the laptop.

    So Parnas narrative is describing events after the actual compromise and delivery to Mac Isaac. What to make of that?

    • emptywheel says:

      I think Parnas is wrong to assume the entire laptop originally came from the Kazakh compromise, though don’t doubt there was one.

      But as I read Parnas, he’s saying that Pruss, as part of a negotiation (“we won’t give you any dirt unless you help with DOJ, but if you do, we’ve got a laptop”) offered it in May or June 2019, when a laptop, possibly not the same one, was being offered elsewhere.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        I seem to recall reading here at the site that the ‘laptop’ is really several independent drives and that would make the 2014 / 2019 discrepancy go away IMHO.

      • zscoreUSA says:

        To be clear about my point, I don’t believe, and I am not suggesting, that Parnas assumes entire laptop originally came from the Kazakh compromise. He’s on the record in 2020 educating Politico that they are distinct events.

        When normal people, in casual conversation talk about 2014 and 2019 events in the same breath, they use phrases like:
        “Back in 2014”
        “then in 2019”
        “Meanwhile in 2019”
        “At that time in 2014”

        And normal people who offer testimony by writing letters to Congress with the aid of an attorney should be even more precise.

        My point is that the blending w/o distinction of 2014/2019 in one paragraph has to be intentional. And that the effect is for casual readers to assume the connection from FSB-Kazakhstan to JPMI-Rudy.

    • EuroTark says:

      A 2014 compromise could very likely include credentials, which could be later used to access more recent data. Hunter does not strike me as the person to change his passwords often. From what I’ve read (mainly here) it seems much more likely that the credentials were compromised in 2019 though, but both could also be an option.

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