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US intelligence agencies cautioned the White House last year that Russian intelligence operatives were targeting President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as a way to push disinformation to the president, The Washington Post reported.
The paper cited four former officials familiar with the matter who said the warnings were based on several sources, including intercepted communications. The communications are said to have showed that Giuliani communicated with multiple people who had ties to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine. The former New York mayor made the trip as part of his effort to dig up dirt on the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter, related to the latter’s work for the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings.
The Post reported that the intercepted communications raised red flags with US officials who worried that Russian officials were using Giuliani as a conduit to feed disinformation to Trump. After the White House was warned about the possibility, the report said, national security adviser Robert O’Brien told the president that he should approach any information Giuliani gave him with caution.
One source told The Post that the message to Trump was, “Do what you want to do, but your friend Rudy has been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine.” The warning was especially stark because officials wanted “to protect the president from coming out and saying something stupid,” the paper reported, especially because he was in the middle of an impeachment at the time over his efforts to force Ukraine to launch politically motivated investigations into the Bidens and Burisma.
Notably, The New York Times reported that in January, while Trump and Giuliani were pushing for the investigations, hackers associated with Russia’s military intelligence agency successfully breached Burisma’s servers.
And on Wednesday, The Times reported that US intelligence analysts learned last month that the Russians were planning to dump hacked and forged Burisma emails as an “October surprise” before the election. The New York Post’s story had been published just hours before The Times reported the information.
Giuliani, for his part, met at least once during his 2019 Ukraine trip with Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian national who was sanctioned by the Treasury last month for acting as a Russian agent and spreading disinformation related to the 2020 US election. Giuliani’s primary focus on the Bidens relates to Hunter Biden’s work on the board of the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings and claims that the former vice president leveraged his official US position to protect his son.
Specifically, Trump, Giuliani, and the president’s allies have pushed unfounded allegations that when Joe Biden was vice president, he orchestrated the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor general in 2016 to shut down an investigation into Burisma while his son was affiliated with the company.
As Business Insider previously reported, there is no evidence that the allegations hold merit because Biden was representing the official position of the US, most of the Western world, and institutions like the IMF when he …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics