Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
At one point, in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Rudy Giuliani was lauded as “America’s Mayor,” a title that perhaps only Pete Buttigieg has the national name recognition to lay claim to nowadays.
Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that:
“Subpoenas issued to people with ties to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates indicate a broad federal investigation into possible money laundering, obstruction of justice and campaign-finance violations, and suggest that prosecutors are looking closely at the work of Mr. Giuliani himself, according to people familiar with the matter,” the paper began its account.
The irony is that Giuliani himself once led the group of federal prosecutors in the offices of the Southern District of New York that is now investigating him in his role as Donald Trump’s personal attorney and apparent political trickster.
That the investigation has already led to the indictment of two of Giuliani’s Russian-born associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — the former of whom has been straining at the bit to spill the beans to Congress about what he knows of the political skullduggery involved in Giuliani’s efforts to sniff out scandal involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in foreign climes — does not bode well for the former New York City mayor.
“The subpoenas offer the clearest indication yet that federal prosecutors are examining Mr. Giuliani’s consulting work. Among the entities named in the subpoenas are Giuliani Partners, a security-consulting firm founded by Mr. Giuliani in 2002 that had multiple foreign clients, including a city in Ukraine. The subpoenas also sought information on a company co-founded by Mr. Parnas that paid Mr. Giuliani for business and legal advice,” the WSJ reports.
While the newspaper indicates that Giuliani denies being contacted by prosecutors about any wrongdoing, the list of potential charges being considered by the team at SDNY seems to suggest that an eventual indictment is likely.
Among the charges listed in the subpoenas issued to date include “obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, along with mail fraud and wire fraud.”
For Giuliani’s part, he is following President Trump’s lead in denying any negative news circulating about his behavior and blaming biased media for spreading their own fake news rather than what he is trying to peddle.
“All they have to do is come and ask me,” he said of investigators. “There’s obviously a concerted effort to spread as many lies about me as possible, to destroy my reputation so that I’m not credible when I continue to reveal all of the massive evidence of criminality by the Bidens.”
Meanwhile, the prosecutors are investigating the connections between Giuliani and his two indicted associates whose company, the risibly-named Fraud Guarantee insurance company, the presidential attorney provided business and legal counsel to.
Despite the closing pincers of the federal prosecutors, Giuliani continues to work for Donald Trump as his lawyer, at least in his innumerable television appearances, whether those televised lunatic rantings do anything to advance the president’s case or, as is typically the case, whether they place Trump in a worse position than if Giuliani had simply kept his mouth shut.
The decline and fall of “America’s Mayor” will make a great made for TV movie someday. Perhaps one day you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren that you were alive when all of this went down. Unless Giuliani and his client are held accountable for their actions, however, the country that your grandchildren live in may by then be unrecognizable to modern Americans. Let’s hope that federal prosecutors and their ultimate supervisor, Attorney General William Barr, don’t allow that to happen, but given that Barr is in Trump’s pocket as much as Giuliani seems to be, it’s a bet that few are willing to rely on.
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Original reporting by Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Shelby Holliday at The Wall Street Journal.