Two articles were published this evening which suggest that the FBI is investigating Rudy Giuliani’s Delaware laptop caper as a potential Russian intelligence operation targeting Vice President Biden. At NBC Ken Dilanian reports that “Federal investigators are examining whether the emails allegedly describing activities by Joe Biden and his son Hunter and found on a laptop at a Delaware repair shop are linked to a foreign intelligence operation.”
The article suggests the probe long predates the New York Post’s publication of the purported emails on Tuesday.
The Washington Post meanwhile has a much more detailed piece which reports that American intelligence has been telling Trump for almost a year that Giuliani is working with Russian intelligence operatives and that information he brings to the President is in all likelihood the product of Russian disinformation efforts.
Robert O’Brien, President Trump’s National Security Advisor, reportedly had a frank conversation with the President, warning him off Giuliani’s findings. The President ignored the warning.
The gist of the article suggests that Giuliani was not a conspirator but rather a target, a gullible vector who could be used to plant disinformation with the President. This may be true as far as it goes. But it seems highly likely that Giuliani has received defensive briefings which he has simply disregarded. Given Giuliani’s prominence in American political life and relationship with the President such defensive briefings would be standard and expected.
One hardly needs defensive briefings though. It has been an open secret, indeed widely reported on, that Giuliani was working with people in Ukraine who were almost certainly agents of Russian intelligence or operating on its behalf. I mean, we had a whole impeachment over this. The warnings to the President began after impeachment was underway. Yet none of these warnings or reportage seem to have warned Giuliani off his activities. None of them led Trump to cut ties with Giuliani or even press him to back off his activities or contacts in Ukraine and Russia.
At a certain point gullibility becomes so willful that it amounts to a complicit and culpability. Giuliani is way past that point, as is the President.