In Rudy Giuliani Affidavit, SDNY Hung Up the Perfect Phone Call

Consider this: The April 21, 2021 warrant affidavit showing probable cause for the search of Rudy Giuliani’s home, office, and devices did not mention the Perfect Phone Call between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

It could have done so. Earlier warrant affidavits targeting Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, starting with a bunch obtained on October 21, 2019, included it.

On July 25, 2019, President Trump spoke to Ukrainian President [Zelenskyy]. According to a memorandum of the call, which the White House released publicly, President Trump noted that “[t]he former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news.” He also praised a “very good prosecutor,” which appears to be a reference to [Lutsenko,] who was still in place at that time following [Zelenskyy’s] election but subsequently removed from office, or possibly [Shokin,] the former prosecutor.

While SDNY did not release the affidavit for a December 10, 2019 warrant focused exclusively on the Foreign Agent charges, this same reference did appear in an affidavit to obtain the contents of Lev Parnas’ Instagram account the same day.

In context of the potential FARA charges tied exclusively to the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the paragraph showed that Trump had been persuaded by Rudy Giuliani’s lobbying not just that Yovanovitch “was bad news,” but that the prosecutors behind the effort to oust her, Yuriy Lutsenko and/or Viktor Shokin, were “very good.”

Moreover, the paragraph is particularly relevant evidence in the affidavit targeting Rudy. Far more specifically than the (much earlier) affidavits targeting Lev Parnas, the Rudy affidavit describes that Rudy lobbied Trump to fire Yovanovitch at least three times (the affidavit clearly identifies two instances: once on February 16, 2019, and again on March 22) and lobbied Mike Pompeo at least twice (once on February 8 and again when the White House forwarded his packet of disinformation in March) before he and Parnas turned to a press campaign involving John Solomon to get her ousted.

Yet the only public affidavit targeting Rudy, unlike several targeting Lev Parnas, excluded the paragraph showing the extent of Rudy’s influence.

There may be a perfectly banal explanation, such as an attempt, relatively early in Merrick Garland’s tenure, to minimize the extent to which this was about Trump personally. Or, the Perfect Phone Call might embody some of the uncertainty, noted explicitly in the affidavit, about whether Rudy was targeting Yovanovitch to get contracts with Lutsenko, or whether he was doing it only to get disinformation, to benefit Trump, on Hunter Biden. Given the high likelihood that data seized in this search was also used in other, undisclosed investigations into Rudy — DOJ may not yet have had a January 6 warrant targeting Rudy, but in June 2021, DOJ took overt steps in the investigation into an anti-Hunter Biden film that Rudy plotted — the silence about the Perfect Phone Call may simply reflect the boundary line between investigative prongs. That is, maybe the Perfect Phone Call appears in another affidavit.

The anti-Hunter film was, reportedly, an investigation into possible foreign support. As this table, which compares the scope of investigation in three warrants for substantially the same Foreign Agent investigation, shows, the funding of Rudy’s shenanigans shifted focus over the course of the investigation.

The warrants include:

  • October 21, 2019, 19 MJ 9832, obtained days after Parnas’ arrest, as SDNY obtained warrants to expand the scope of the investigation to incorporate its expanding Foreign Agent focus
  • December 10, 2019, 19 MJ 11500, obtained days after Rudy met with Andrii Derkach, which would have been a natural follow-on investigation to the Parnas investigation, but which Barr moved to EDNY to protect Rudy’s ability to solicit dirt from Russian agents to help Trump’s 2020 campaign
  • April 21, 2021, 21 MJ 4335, obtained on Lisa Monaco’s first day as Deputy Attorney General, when SDNY finally obtained approval for warrants targeting Rudy’s home and devices

In October 2019, DOJ wasn’t looking closely at how the Ukraine caper was funded. In December 2019, it made up two bullets of the warrants, permitting the seizure of:

  • Evidence of any funds sent into any account controlled by or associated with [redacted] or Giuliani, or any instructions to send such funds. (c)
  • Evidence of money, actions, or information requested by, or offered or provided to Parnas, Fruman, Giuliani, or [Toensing] by any Ukrainian national in connection with efforts to remove [Yovanovitch], including but not limited to any Ukrainian investigation of [Burisma Holdings] Ltd., [Hunter Biden], or potential interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (e)

That December 2019 focus on funding may have reflected details about Lev Parnas that SDNY had only just discovered. In an unsuccessful bid to have Parnas detained pretrial submitted the day after DOJ obtained that December 10 warrant targeting Lev Parnas, SDNY laid out what it had learned about the funding of the Ukraine caper.

Parnas poses a significant risk of flight for several reasons, the chief among which are his considerable ties abroad and access to seemingly limitless sources of foreign funding. Parnas has extensive and significant international ties, particularly in Ukraine, the country of his birth. Over the past two years, Parnas traveled repeatedly to Ukraine, and met with numerous Ukrainian government officials, including officials at the very highest level of government. More broadly, Parnas has traveled abroad more than twenty times over the past four years, including on a nearly monthly basis in 2019. Parnas took circuitous travel routes that obscured his final destination, such as by departing the U.S. for one country, but returning from a different country on a different airline. Parnas traveled internationally by private jet as recently as this year; bank account records from Account-1 show that Parnas spent more than $70,000 on private air travel in September 2019 alone.


In addition, Parnas’s close ties abroad include connections to Russian and Ukrainian nationals of nearly limitless means, including [Andrey Muraviev] and a Ukrainian oligarch [Dmitry Firtash] living in Vienna who is currently fighting extradition to this country. Parnas has proven adept at gaining access to foreign funding: in the last three years, Parnas received in excess of $1.5 million from Ukrainian and Russian sources. In sum, given Parnas’s significant, high-level connections to powerful and wealthy Ukrainians and at least one Russian national, he could quickly and easily flee the United States for Ukraine or another foreign country, and recoup the security posted to his bond. It is difficult to overstate the extreme flight risk that Parnas poses.


  • Between August and October 2019, Parnas received $200,000—not $50,000, as he told Pretrial Services—from the Law Firm into Account-1, which was held in Svetlana Parnas’s name, in what appears to be an attempt to ensure that any assets were held in Svetlana’s, rather than Lev’s, name.5 A portion of this money existed in Account-1 at the time that Parnas submitted his financial affidavit, and, to the Government’s knowledge, does so today, underscoring that Parnas continues to mislead the Government and the Court about his financial condition.
  • Parnas failed to disclose, in describing his income to the Government and Pretrial Services, the fact that in September 2019, he received $1 million from a bank account in Russia into Account-1. While the majority of that money appears to have been used on personal expenses and to purchase a home, as discussed below, some portion of that money existed in Account-1 at the time Parnas submitted his financial affidavit.
  • At the time of his arrest, Parnas had at least $200,000 in an escrow account, in connection with his intended purchase of a property located in Boca Raton, Florida, which was listed for sale at approximately $4.5 million. The escrow account was funded with $200,000 from Account-1 in September 2019. Parnas did not disclose this asset (either the property or the funds in the escrow account) to either Pretrial Services or the Government. It is unclear whether Parnas proceeded with this real estate purchase or received the funds back from the escrow account.

In an appearance on Michael Cohen’s podcast last month, Parnas addressed how various Ukrainian, Russian, and American oligarchs were funding his and Rudy’s efforts; he says it’ll also appear in his forthcoming book.

The warrant targeting Rudy 17 months later doesn’t reveal what SDNY had learned about the funding in the interim, nor does it sustain the focus on how this was all funded. It states with some certainty that in spite of two rounds of discussions of retainer agreements with Lutsenko and others, Rudy never got any money from them.

Based on my involvement in this investigation and my review of text messages, it appears that Giuliani was referring to the execution of [redaction] retainer agreement and the wiring of funds. However, based on my review of bank records, it does not appear that [redacted] wired funds to Giuliani at that time, or any subsequent time.

As NYT emphasized in their report on these warrants, the later warrant does describe that Rudy needed the money.

6 Based on my review of a financial analysis prepared based on bank records and public reports, it appears that around this time, Giuliani had a financial interest in receiving a retainer agreement from [redacted] Specifically, in May 2018, Giuliani left his former law firm and its substantial compensation package. Based on my review of a financial analysis of bank records that have been collected to date (which may not include all of Giuliani’s checking and credit card accounts), on or around January 25, 2018, Giuliani had approximately $1.2 million cash on hand, and approximately $40,000 in credit card debt. By contrast, on or around January 25, 2019, right before he met with [redacted] Giuliani had approximately $400,000 cash on hand in those same accounts and approximately $110,000 in credit card debt. By on or around February 16, 2019, his account balances had dropped to approximately $288,000 and his credit card debt remained over $110,000.

Perhaps because of what SDNY claimed were Parnas’ efforts to obscure his travel, the December 2019 warrant (for which, remember, it did not release the affidavit) added a bullet point, seemingly an afterthought unmarked by a letter, authorizing seizure of evidence that the men were hiding meetings with Ukrainians.

Evidence of efforts or attempts to conceal meetings with individuals acting on behalf of or associated with any Ukrainian national or government official. (no letter)

By contrast, the April 2021 affidavit targeting Rudy was interested in one single trip: His February 2019 trip, with Parnas, to Warsaw.

Evidence relating to a trip by Rudolph Giuliani to Poland in February 2019.(5)

As the affidavit describes, there was good reason to believe Rudy’s public claims about the trip — made in the days after the Perfect Phone Call was released — were lies, because immediately after the meeting, Rudy drafted a retainer shortly after the meeting and started lobbying Trump and Pompeo.

7 Based on my review of public reporting, I have learned that according to an article published on September 29, 2019 in Reuters, Giuliani admitted that he met [Lutsenko] in Warsaw in February 2019 after first meeting him in New York in January, but that the meeting with [redacted] in Warsaw was “really social . . . I think it was either dinner or cigars after dinner. Not opportune for substantive discussion.” However, this does not appear to be accurate, as described herein, Giuliani circulated a draft retainer agreement between [2 words redacted] and [redacted] (a firm owned by [Toensing] and her husband, [Joe DiGenova]) only five days after meeting with [redacted] and communicated with Parnas and [redacted] about lobbying [Pompeo] and Trump to remove [Yovanovitch] on the same day, and in the days following, his meeting with [redacted].

The reference to Lutsenko in that Reuters story is minor; far more of the story focuses on who paid for Rudy’s galivanting — again, a topic dropped in the later known warrant.

One of the key questions is who financed Giuliani’s globe-trotting as he pursued unsubstantiated allegations that Biden had tried to fire Ukraine’s then chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to stop him investigating an energy company on which his son Hunter served as a director.

“Nobody pays my expenses,” Giuliani said in an interview with Reuters on Friday. “What does it matter if I’m getting paid for it. Isn’t the real story whether he (Biden) sold out the vice presidency of the United States, not whether I got paid for it?”

The singular focus on that Warsaw meeting — a meeting that took place at an event designed to undermine Obama’s Iran Deal, which Rudy attended in conjunction with MEK (former NJ Senator, Robert Torricelli, with whom John Solomon has a past, also attended with MEK) — is all the more interesting given the temporal scope of the warrant.

The other two warrants I adress here were dictated by dates of collection. Because the October 21 warrant authorized an expanded search of materials obtained months earlier, its temporal scope necessarily ended at the collection date, May 16, 2019. Because the December 10 warrant authorized an expanded search of materials seized from the search of Parnas and Fruman’s residences (primarily Parnas’ — by this point, SDNY seemed to be scrutinizing Parnas far more closely than it did Fruman), its temporal scope necessarily ended on that collection date, October 9, 2019.

But the Rudy warrant extended long past the last overt act, the firing of Yovanovitch, described in the warrant, to December 31, 2019. Here’s how the FBI justified that:

To the extent materials are dated, this warrant is limited to materials created, modified, sent, or received between August 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019. Materials going back to approximately August 2018 are relevant to understand Giuliani’s relationship with Parnas and information he was provided in the fall of 2018 relating to, among other things, Ambassador [Yovanovitch] and Ukraine. Materials created, modified, sent, or received after approximately May 2019, when the Ambassador was removed from her post, through the end of December 2019, during which time Giuliani traveled to Europe to meet [Lutsenko] with are relevant because based on my review of the Prior Search Warrant Returns, it appears that Giuliani continued to make public statements about Ukraine and the Ambassador.

Thus, it rationalized extending the warrant’s temporal scope through December 2019 — a temporal scope that would include the trip for the anti-Hunter Biden documentary, on which Rudy again met Lutsenko, but also met known Russian asset Andrii Derkach and others who would later be deemed Russian assets — based on Rudy’s continued focus, vaguely, on Ukraine (as well as Yovanovitch).

But it’s not clear whether FBI would be able to access details of Rudy’s meeting with Derkach, as opposed to Lutsenko, with this warrant. The long redaction in this bullet point shields who else, in addition to Parnas and Lutsenko, was included in the scope of the known warrant.

In other words, though the temporal scope of the warrant would permit FBI to review information about Rudy’s later meetings with Lutsenko, in association with which trip Rudy also met a series of Russian assets, nothing unredacted in the warrant permitted FBI to seize information about that later meeting (or about the anti-Hunter Biden documentary).

For that matter, nothing unredacted in the April 2021 warrant explicitly permits the FBI to seize information about Rudy’s attempts to dig up disinformation targeting Hunter Biden and his father, even though the warrant affidavit likely mentions such efforts at more than twelve times (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve).

Still, as I’ve noted repeatedly, by the time Judge Oetken approved the Special Master process that Rudy himself had demanded, Special Master Barbara Jones was instructed to review all content post-dating January 1, 2018, a temporal scope significantly broader than the one laid out in the warrant. And according to her reports, while for some devices she focused more nearly on the timeframe of the Ukraine caper, those she reviewed first, she reviewed through the date of seizure.

We still know just a fraction of the story about how Bill Barr obstructed the investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s Ukrainian influence peddling — and the degree to which that let Rudy get rid of phones before the investigation would have otherwise developed (for example, the warrant describes that Rudy replaced a phone used with his main phone number on the date the House started subpoenaing records in advance of impeachment). That is, even though SDNY took aggressive investigative steps on Lisa Monaco’s first day as Deputy Attorney General, it was likely already too late.

Update: Back in real time, I posited that the first time Rudy pitched Mike Pompeo on firing Marie Yovanovitch was done while in Trump’s presence.


Below, every bullet is a known warrant. The ones not linked were described in a passage that failed to be fully redacted in a Lev Parnas filing.

  • January 18, 2019, 19 MJ 1729: Yahoo and Google content

May 15, 2019: Marie Yovanovitch firing public

  • May 16, 2019, 19 MJ 4784: iCloud content
  • August 14, 2019, 19 MJ 7593: Yahoo and Google content since January, with expanded focus
  • August 14, 2019, 19 MJ 7594: Unknown warrant
  • August 14, 2019, 19 MJ 7595: Existing Yahoo and Google content, with expanded focus

September 25, 2019: Disclosure of Perfect Phone call

October 9, 2019: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman arrested

  • October 17, 2019, 19 MJ 7595: Actual authorization of the warrant approved in August
  • October 21, 2019, 19 MJ 9829: iCloud content since May
  • October 21, 2019, 19 MJ 9830: Unknown warrant
  • October 21, 2019, 19 MJ 9831: Devices from Dulles
  • October 21, 2019, 19 MJ 9832: Existing iCloud content for expanded focus
  • November 4, 2019: Warrant for Rudy’s iCloud
  • November 4, 2019: Warrant for Rudy’s email
  • November 4, 2019: Warrant for Victoria Toensing’s iCloud
  • November 6, 2019: Warrant for Yuriy Lutsenko’s email

December 5, 2019: Rudy meets with known Russian asset, Andrii Derkach

  • December 10, 2019, 19 MJ 11500: Stuff seized from residences for foreign agent focus
  • December 10, 2019, 19 MJ 11501: Instagram
  • December 10, 2019, Warrant for Roman Nasirov’s email
  • December 13, 2019, Warrant for Victoria Toensing’s email

December 14, 2019: Barr aide texts him: “Laptop on way to you”

January 3, 2020: Barr establishes dedicated channel to ingest Rudy’s dirt

January 17, 2020: Jeffrey Rosen makes Richard Donoghue a gatekeeper for all Ukraine-related investigations

  • February 28, 2020: iPhone of Alexander Levin
  • March 3, 2020: iPad of Alexander Levin
  • March 20, 2020, 20 MJ 3074: Fruman iCloud content obtained with October 21, 2019 warrant to cover earlier periods

June 20, 2020: Barr fires Geoffrey Berman

November 2020: SDNY denied authority to seek devices of Rudy Giuliani

January 2021: SDNY denied authority to seek devices of Rudy Giuliani

  • April 13, 2021: Cell site data for Rudy and Toensing

April 21, 2021: Lisa Monaco sworn in

  • April 21, 2021, 21 MJ 4335: Rudy’s office, residence, and devices
  • April 21, 2021: Victoria Toensing iPhone
77 replies
  1. Benvindo Soares says:

    “Barr moved to EDNY to protect Rudy’s ability”

    If Barr had this ability what stops him from controlling the direction scope and yield of each Warrant ?

    Lev plays a good dummy . I don’t know how sincere he is.

  2. says:

    thx for another exceptional breakout.

    Where would you state of knowledge be without EW, the document sleuth and press take down artist?

    Your post again reminds me Geoffrey Berman’s book was worth every penny Santa spent on it for me last Christmas.

      • Matt___B says:

        There’s no end to legal frivolity is there?

        But…if a woman who miscarried in Ohio can actually be under grand jury consideration for criminal indictment for “abuse of a corpse” and face up a to 1 year in jail for that “crime”, then we’re already deep into Handmaids Tale territory in some of our states right now – which makes asking to hold Smith in contempt a relatively minor “request” by comparison. That he’s biting the hand that feeds him in order to even make this request is either sheer stupidity or delicious irony. Actually both.

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      Michael Cohen on Berman and Berman’s book from
      Berman’s book describes how the department sought to have references to Trump removed from Cohen’s charging papers, reverse the conviction and halt related investigations, according to reporting from The New York Times that was referenced in Durbin’s letter.
      Cohen said in an earlier tweet that the White House meddled in his prosecution.
      “Yet Geoffrey Berman, former head of the@SDNYnews said nothing at the time,” said Cohen. “He needs to be questioned, indicted and prosecuted. No one is above the law!”
      Cohen, in an email to Newsweek, faulted Berman for not disclosing what he was allegedly being pressured to do by Barr.
      “He had an obligation to come forward to Congress, the FBI or law enforcement to disclose,” Cohen said. “Not release the information years later in a book. Berman’s actions are, at the bare minimum unethical and quite possibly illegal.”
      Cohen said he has been saying for five years that Trump, Barr and the district brought “fabricated charges” against him for the benefit of then-President Trump. Cohen also said his allegations are validated by Berman,

    • emptywheel says:

      Here’s a post I wrote about Berman’s book.

      I don’t trust any of these men — Berman, Lev, or Michael Cohen. Berman, because he picked his battles, which means he picked some badly wrong. Lev, because he’s still spinning how bad what he did was, and why (and still claiming privilege, perhaps properly, for his work with Firtash, bc Firtash can get you in trouble in ways that get beyond the law), and Cohen for same. I also think SDNY’s singular focus on Lev, noted in this post, is not backed by the known actions or personal ties of the men involved.

      So I find none of them trustworthy. But they’re all better people than Bill Barr is.

  3. Ginevra diBenci says:

    With Trump (and his off-brand adherents like Chris Rufo et. al.) it so often boils down to cherchez la femme. Case in point: his reference to Marie Yovanovitch as “the woman” during the Perfect Phone Call, which would have been imperfect indeed had he remembered or used her actual name.

    The woman. That woman. The articles are used to distance all that terrifies about females from the fearful, spiteful, mediocre men speaking. Trump thought he was, as usual, punching down when he fired (or rather, due to his cowardice, had a subaltern fire) Yovanovitch. I remember her vividly from college, enough to know she is fine. Because, like E. Jean Carroll, Marie Yovanovitch has always flown so far above Donald Trump that he was and is just punching the air.

    I like to think he knows this, even as he desperately tries to withhold that knowledge from himself.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thank you for that link, earthworm. If the New York Times hadn’t chosen to mainline Chris Rufo’s baseless accusations into the supposedly liberal culture, I believe Ackman would have failed in his quest against Dr. Gay. All he has is money, but that plus the access that NYT granted Rufo was, shamefully, enough.

        The fact of his hypocrisy, as BI tries to argue, means little now. After all, Neri Oxman has seemingly been rendered–if not barefoot–at least pregnant and a stay-at-home (in a fabulous apartment) mom. Unlike those three university presidents, she is no longer a threat to hobbyhorse-riding men.

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    I wonder if the Alex Levin in the indictment mentioned below is the same as the Alexander Levin in your Timeline above for January 17, 2020 (Rosen/Donoghue):

    “Eastern District of New York | Three Brooklyn Residents Charged in Money Laundering Scheme with Stealing Over $30 Million from Foreign Banks | United States Department of Justice” – 4/20/21

    “An indictment was unsealed earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Val Cooper, Alex Levin and Garri Smith with money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to violate the Travel Act in connection with their roles in a scheme to steal over $30 million in cash and other valuables from safe deposit boxes located at banks abroad, primarily in Eastern Europe.”

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Contra Rudy, it matters a lot who paid him or for his expenses. If we’re to believe these records, Rudy’s income dropped precipitously after he left his law firm, and it doesn’t seem to have recovered, despite years of lobbying for high pay from one or more patrons. That seems strange for a guy whose personal expenses once topped $2.5 million/month.

    Now, Rudy might be dumb as a post about how to survive without knowledgeable support staff doing the work. Or he hid his income, possibly not just to hide it from the tax man, but to hide who paid it and for what work. As with Trump, following the money is half or more of the story. That would seem to be worth following up.

  6. harpie says:

    A right-wing tale of Michigan election fraud had it all – except proof Gateway Pundit, a favorite news source of former president Donald Trump’s, has pushed false claims of a stolen election even as others have pulled back in the face of consequences Sarah Ellison January 3, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. EST

    I brought this up at another post because Gateway Pundit is one of the references used in the REPORT TRUMP cited in his immunity filing yesterday. [LOL!]

    I bring it up here, as well, because of this Tweet from Peter Strzok:
    Jan 3, 2024 · 4:16 PM UTC

    The same Gateway Pundit that’s about to platform material from an indicted, sanctioned “active Russian agent” of the Russian intelligence services. [DOJ Link] [Gift link to WaPo]

    He’s talking about an interview of Andrii Derkach by “American journalist Simone Mangiante, to be aired on 1/10/24.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Gateway Pundit story at the Internet Archive:

      ANNOUNCING: Ukrainian Politician Who Broke the Biden-Burisma Corruption Story – Sits for FIRST INTERVIEW in Two Years – Will Reveal BOMBSHELL Details from His Biden Crime Family Investigation – COMING SOON! Jim Holt 12/29/23

      […] A separate large area of Derkach’s work was the investigation of the so-called “Democorruption”, which attracted the attention of a reputable American investigator, prosecutor, lawyer and attorney – Rudy Giuliani, [<BWAHAHAHA] with whom Derkach planned to consolidate efforts on intergovernmental investigative activities. [..]

    • vigetnovus says:

      “American journalist”…. haha that’s a good one! I thought she was Italian? Or was it Eastern European? I can never remember.

      Dear MAGAts: to get you up to speed on the new season of “As Trumpworld Turns”, when last we saw Ms. Mangiante, she was fleeing the US and her newlywed husband for an undisclosed European country due to spousal abuse issues. To jog your memory, her husband’s name was your hero, Mr. G. Papa.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not hard even for a newbie journalist to do a basic internet search for the Italian lawyer and wife of the overambitious, but vastly incompetent George Papadopoulos. She might also be American, owing to her marriage, but focusing on that would be a distraction.

    • Fraud Guy says:

      The Gateway Pundit? The wrongest man on the internet? I’ve been given them as a reference over 50 times by my in-house Q follower, and about half their stories are wrong, 40% directly contradicted by the source they cite, and the rest are nothingburgers trying to be real.

      • Peterr says:

        Ah, yes, the Gateway Pundit. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss have him in their sights, too. From the Missouri Independent last October:

        The St. Louis-based website being sued by former Georgia election workers for defamation is being accused of purposely delaying discovery in the case to forestall a jury trial.

        In a motion filed in St. Louis Circuit Court last week, attorneys for Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss asked a judge to set an August 2024 trial date, as well as allow for depositions of at least 20 people involved in a series of stories published by The Gateway Pundit accusing plaintiffs of election fraud.

        The Gateway Pundit, founded by brothers Jim and Joe Hoft, was sued for defamation and emotional distress by Freeman and Moss in 2021. They contend the right-wing site published debunked stories accusing them of election fraud that resulted in threats of violence, many tinged with racial slurs.

        Freeman and Moss’ attorneys say the Hofts have “repeatedly delayed discovery in this matter,” including by “failing to comply with the court’s discovery orders; failing to abide by their discovery obligations… and filing not just an improper counterclaim but also several meritless motions.” . . .

        Sounds like he’s following the Team Trump playbook of delay, delay, delay.

        Oh, and the piece ends with this:

        The Hofts filed a counterclaim in the case alleging the lawsuit against them is solely intended to drive the Gateway Pundit out of business.

        “It is a form of political lawfare,” the Hofts’ counterclaim states, “and lacks legal merit.”

        The counterclaim was dismissed earlier this year.

        Of course it was — but that didn’t keep the GP from filing the counterclaim. He’s got the Trump Playbook memorized.

        We’re going to be hearing more and more about the Gateway Pundit as this case proceeds. Stay tuned, and buckle in.

    • Purple Martin says:

      I often note to others that Emptywheel has the best commenting community on the web. That’s because the content attracts rationality, and thanks to the moderators’ discerning eye (I should thank them more often) in encouraging reasoned debate, while taking quick appropriate action with those whose objective seems to be trying to hinder rather than participate in the discussion. And I know I likely never see 99% of what they do, so, thank you all!

      Conversely, for the worst commenting community outside the Dark Web, pull on your hip boots and wade around Jim Hoft’s sewage-filled Disqus hot tub for a while. Or don’t—I occasionally drop into MAGAWorld to see what talking points of the moment are circling around in that echosphere so you don’t have to (really, so I’m not surprised when something really insane pops up from my Idaho relatives).

      OK, we now return you to your regular, and sane, programming.

      • Rayne says:

        There’s a reason we don’t use Disqus here. Reasons, plural, I should say. It’s really a lousy comment platform — requires logins for commenters and therefore accrues personal information about commenters, and the moderation tools are weak sauce.

        Of course this might appeal to other kinds of websites. Ahem.

        • P J Evans says:

          I spend time at a couple of sites that use Disqus. The one with more comments get trolls. We report and block them. We’ll also flag them for moderation. There’s an add-on for FF/Mozilla called “Blog Killfile”, that allows you to hush (hide) commenters by name, so you don’t have to read their stuff if you don’t want to, or to hide single comments. (It also works with WordPress.)

        • Rayne says:

          That’s great but clearly not enough. Having used Disqus as a moderator, it sucks; it’s easier for me to knock down trolls here.

          Disqus still requires user logins — that’s another multi-layered risk we don’t have the resources to deal with mitigating.

        • Purple Martin says:

          Yes, I specifically worded it in the least appealing way I could, and identified it as a Disqus site so others wouldn’t have to waste time looking for something only to realize it’s something they won’t use.

          The last 30 years of my professional career were in information security & privacy, with a specialization of risk analysis & management. I understand and purposefully accept the negatives involved with Disqus collection of personal data, in exchange for the benefits of its wide reach. Approaching the issue case-by-case, I long ago made different decisions with others, including any Twitter and any Meta site.

          Does depend on the mostly self-reinforcing norms of specific communities, which can differ greatly (it works better with other, more rational sites, e.g., Lawyers, Guns & Money).

        • EuroTark says:

          Slightly off-topic, but Disqus was fined by The Norwegian Data Protection Authority (Datatilsynet) for breachign GDPR. There’s a good reason why EFF’s PrivacyBadger (which I highly recommend) blocks Disqus widgets from loading.

          What is Privacy Badger?
          Privacy Badger is a browser extension that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it’s like you suddenly disappeared.

        • Rayne says:

          Yep, all that, thanks much for making my point about some of the risks related to Disqus and comment systems which require logins. Last thing we need is dealing with GDPR issues.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        The Epoch Times was my go-to site for monitoring the MAGA-to-Q spectrum in the comments. In 2021 it got so bad even I couldn’t stand it.

        • Matt___B says:

          The ET are like digital media cockroaches. They sometimes distribute their physical papers like throwaway neighborhood papers that everybody finds in their driveway once a week, like it or not. I had a not-too-politically-aware friend tell me about an article he read on ET that sounded “a little loony” to him, but he didn’t know the backstory of ET or their agenda. Ugh. Another brick in the vast wall of misinformation out there.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          And the thing about ET that’s easy not to notice is that it’s really not a “they.” It’s a him. One guy does almost all the writing and is the editor. He does write better than most at comparable sites, which may have been what deceived your friend into thinking it was only “a little” loony.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos’ Twitter feed [on Nitter]:

      She retweets Roger STONE and defends GIULIANI [who “did nothing wrong”] several times in the last week. She also links to two “teasers” of the Derkach “interview”.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        “Did nothing wrong” is the mantra for Roger Stone. Interesting that she’d use it for Giuliani. It’s meaningless, of course, relying on the subjective interpretation of “wrong” as opposed to, say, illegal.

        I wonder if Simone has been recruited to counter-program that Dutch documentary about Stone?

        • Rayne says:

          LOL I can’t tell if it’s Gateway Pundit or Derkach which is the problem tripping your comments. Try breaking those names with a blank space or a slash with next attempt.

        • harpie says:

          TY Rayne. This 1:34 comment with the Russian guys name went through on first attempt…

          gate way pundit

          [That did go through]

          [Bingo! LOL EDIT: I should add mine go through because of moderators’ super powers. /~Rayne 3:33 p.m. ET]

    • harpie says:

      Wendy SIEGELMAN is now doing a THREAD about DERKACH
      that begins with this Gateway Pundit article, and includes one of her amazing charts:
      [This is why I thought the article might be important]
      Jan 6, 2024 · 4:38 PM UTC

      Putin/GRU seem to have new talking points for GOP:

      Indicted sanctioned Russian agent Andrii Derkach (helped Giuliani find dirt on Biden) shares ‘new evidence’ in soon to be released video w/Simona Mangiante Papadopoulos (wife of exTrump advisor George convicted for lying to FBI) [THREAD]

  7. Jordan Orlando says:

    OT (strictly speaking) I’m more and more curious how Dr. Wheeler does all of this simply from an archival/data management standpoint. Even with Stephen-King-level prolificacy, the number of posts and the complexity of their scope and structure seems to only get more and more impressive — and this is within the crosshairs of the most contentious legal minds on all sides.

    Excuse me for interrupting! I’m just saying, I’d love to know how all of this is done, from a dreary technical standpoint.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      Perhaps everyone else trying to connect the dots are just incompetent?

      I am also amazed at the depth and breadth of the reporting on this site. I am in awe and thankful that someone is pulling this information from sources and making it available to all of us.

      AFAIK (as much as I can tell), all of the sources cited are publicly available – if you know where to search and you know how to read the content.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For starters, brains, discipline, hard work, and the organizational, research, and analysis skills of a top PhD student in comparative lit. Not much about that is dreary or technical, but it is rare.

      • Jordan Orlando says:

        I just meant in a far more mundane sense: like, at some point today she decided to do this Giuliani thing — how long afterwards did she have all those citations, quotes, and (annotated!) references to past posts together? Viewed as yet another task beyond first having the insights and expertise and then assembling a written argument.

        I could just be betraying my own ignorance of academia.

        • emptywheel says:

          This particular Giuliani post was in the works for maybe 10-15 days.

          At different times I had included the table in the post, had included a long introduction about Bill Barr, and hadn’t yet included every link to the Hunter Biden mentions in the last affidavit.

          It changed a lot as I wrote it and at several times I considered not publishing it.

          It might be more instructive to consider that I made the timeline, the table, and linked all the Hunter Biden references as a tool for my own thinking. This post is not a big screaming headline– I could have just done all this work for myself, and to some extent, did.

          But my experience is that when I show my work I learn a lot from the people here.

        • Jordan Orlando says:

          Thanks for responding. That’s exactly what I was asking about: the next layer back from what we see, where years’ worth of stuff (yours, the courts’, journalists, Twitter) is assembled into an evolving “codex” of some kind.

        • c-i-v-i-l says:

          Not speaking for Marcy, who has already answered, but in case it interests you or anyone else, some qualitative researchers who work with large quantities of text, audio, video, etc. use qualitative data analysis software that enables you to annotate selected data, tag selected data with codes of your choosing, extract data associated with one or more codes, sort, link, and more. There’s still a lot of intellectual work (e.g., in figuring out what codes will be useful and how certain data should be coded, in figuring out productive queries, in seeing relationships), but it can help you keep track of a large quantity of unstructured data, find data that’s relevant to a question you want to explore, perhaps surface a relationship that you hadn’t previously noticed, and so forth.

        • -mamake- says:

          That is helpful info. Can you give an example of where to look for said software, or under what umbrella term one might use? Or name of a good product?

          I’m getting organized to dig into political machinations in the 1930s that impacted my family. I know I’ll need help in connecting the dots.

    • -mamake- says:

      I would like to know as well. The capacity to do this level of deep research and hold multiple narratives w/ very complex data inherent to every single one is beyond my own by light years.

      However, I would love the opportunity to see into the process, even down to the organizational aspects (charts, grids, handwritten notes vs other documents – spread sheets etc). Can’t imagine it without whiteboards or forensic flow charts.

      I appreciate all the wise & knowlegdeable writers on this site. None compare.

      Donate if/when you can readers.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        This makes me think about the open sourced groups such as ICIJ or Bellingcat who publish their techniques for capturing data, analyzing and publishing it. While there is no cookie-cutter way for doing these things, Marcy has figured out a great process – far beyond what the M$M (Main Stream Media) or perhaps even the 5-Eyes agencies use. Of course, not having a bureaucracy-laden organization with personal/political agendas in control may help.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          Bellingcat is still occasionally good, but it’s no longer Eliot Higgins’ site alone, but rather a sort of NGO that spends a lot of time disbursing research tools for open-source work, and a lot less time on individual cases or incidents. In that sense, it’s a good deal slower about reacting to incidents, and often simply doesn’t, unless a particular volunteer is interested. It lacks, these days, Higgins’ joi-de-vivre. I emphasize: still very good when it does wade in.

      • Peterr says:

        You want to see into the process? OK . . .

        Picture a big, open barn, filled with beams and ladders and interior stalls and walls throughout it, and a big loft at the top with smaller walls and stalls and more beams.

        Then picture a bunch of post-its — with all kinds of colors, in all kinds of sizes — on the walls, the stalls, the loft, the roof, and all the beams.

        Then look closer, and you’ll notice that the writing on the post-its is written in all kinds of colored ink, with some of it highlighted with various neon colors.

        Then picture a bunch of yarn — with all kinds of different colors, in all kinds of thicknesses — linking the post-its together.

        Then picture a bunch of clothespins, clipping more yarn of various colors and thicknesses onto the original piece, and then going off toward other post-its elsewhere in the barn.

        That’s how *I* picture Marcy’s process. YMMV.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          What happens when four lunatic cats go tearing through all that, Peterr?

          This is why I write fiction: I can keep the story in my head, where I live.

        • Peterr says:

          Even the most lunatic of a cat would take one look at it and bow down in awe at whoever could make such a work. “I have found the home of the God of All Cats, and I am not worthy to do anything more than gaze upon it and back away slowly.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          I have never seen one single cat bow down in awe at anything, Peterr, respectfully of course.

      • Rayne says:

        And with that pronouncement this line of discussion is done.

        ~Your Friendly Local Area Moderator

        • LaMissy! says:

          So sorry to learn this term – and I presume, its feminine form – have gone over into slur territory. In my childhood in Italian Boston, they were affectionate terms of kinship, their equivalents in Latin America being compadre and comadre.

  8. PieIsDamnGood says:

    I have a tangential question. Do rich people pay the same apr on their credit cards that we do? Is Rudy paying ~25% apr on $110k, or does he have a revolving balance of six digits?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Wealthy clients often benefit from more personal service and lower than market interest rates for all or many bank products. They also avoid paying customary fees and the like. Banks make their profit, instead, on their larger deposits and normally more frequent transactions.

      As Rayne points out, Rudy would no longer be considered a wealthy client, and clearly not after he filed for bankruptcy. He’ll pay the usual rate, assuming he can maintain any credit facilities.

      • Rayne says:

        I suspect if he’s offshored his liquid assets, Rudy doesn’t need an AmEx card but is using a card issued by a bank. Terms might be a revolving line of credit with payment drawn down each month.

        He’ll look bankrupt in the US. Doesn’t mean he is in truth; he’ll just be negative assets inside the US system.

  9. David F. Snyder says:

    … President Trump noted that “[t]he former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news …

    Translation from TrumpSpeak:
    “was bad news” = “had moral backbone”.

    Thankfully we have Marcy showing these sleight of hands used to protect these corrupt assholes.

  10. HikaakiH says:

    Based on my involvement in this investigation and my review of text messages, it appears that Giuliani was referring to the execution of [redaction] retainer agreement and the wiring of funds. However, based on my review of bank records, it does not appear that [redacted] wired funds to Giuliani at that time, or any subsequent time.

    What are the chances that Giuliani did all he did just because he liked the team he was playing for and didn’t receive a brass razoo? What are the chances Giuliani did receive substantial payments into accounts that remain hidden?

  11. EuroTark says:

    I know I’m late to the party and this is just a minor nit, but it really struck a cord:

    Parnas took circuitous travel routes that obscured his final destination, such as by departing the U.S. for one country, but returning from a different country on a different airline.

    The “suspicious travel pattern” described here is just international air-travel by hubs. Every time I’ve been to the US it’s been a similar pattern, because there are no direct flights available. Instead you gly into one of the major hubs like Amsterdam, Frankfurt or London. Each airline has a preferred hub to trabel from, and if you buy your tickets from one or the major airline alliances, you can get tickets on different participating airlines for travel and return.

    For me this is a perfect example of taking something completely normal and presenting in a way that makes it look suspicious.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s not how the average American typically travels to and from Europe, though. The private planes and who owns/operates them is another detail which may have shaped the “circuitous travel routes that obscured his final destination” opinion.

      • EuroTark says:

        Don’t forget that Parnas is originally European and might exhibit other travelling patterns. I do agree that the private planes are definitely suspicious, but those alone should be enough proof that he’s a flight risk.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, I get it — flying to Kyiv *before* the war was enough of a PITA because of the last leg as an example. Commercial flights might have had to stop in Warsaw or Istanbul first and then pick up the last flight with a smaller carrier. Definitely makes private flights appetizing. But let’s say the private flights coincide with signals intelligence we’ll never see, and the planes are owned by front companies, information which may also never come up. Not exactly the obvious Polish Air JFK > KBP via Warsaw or Turkish Air JFK > KBP via Istanbul.

          IOW, it would do well to keep in mind: we don’t know what counterintelligence investigations are ongoing. Some DOJ materials may be presented in a way that deters further deeper examination compromising methods and means.

Comments are closed.