Rudy Giuliani has apparently been in cahoots with a full-blown Russian spy this whole time.
A KGB-trained Russian agent was slapped with U.S. sanctions on Thursday for allegedly orchestrating a baseless smear campaign against Joe Biden — an effort that Giuliani was intimately involved in coordinating and amplifying for President Donald Trump’s benefit.
In a statement, the Treasury Department said Andrii Derkach, a pro-Kremlin member of Ukraine’s parliament, has since late last year pushed “false and unsubstantiated” corruption accusations against Biden and his son, Hunter, as part of Russia’s illegal effort to help Trump get reelected in November.
Described as “an active Russian agent” with extensive ties to the Kremlin, Derkach released “edited audio tapes and other unsupported information” about Biden while relying on “pro-Russian lobbyists” in the U.S. to get American government officials and news outlets to circulate the propaganda, according to the Treasury Department.
“Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was handpicked to his post by Trump. “The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns.”
While Biden’s name is not mentioned in the Treasury Department statement, analogous U.S. intelligence assessments make clear that the Democratic presidential nominee was Derkach’s target.
Derkach, who studied at the KBG school in Moscow in the early 1990s, has met several times with Giuliani as part of the anti-Biden effort that he’s now facing sanctions for.
Giuliani, who currently serves as Trump’s personal attorney, sat down with Derkach in Kyiv last year while they were both actively digging for dirt on the Bidens.
In February, Giuliani interviewed Derkach on his namesake radio show, again giving the Russian agent a platform to keep spreading his baseless claim that Biden used the vice presidency to help his son avoid prosecution on corruption charges in Ukraine.
Since the interview, Giuliani has intermittently kept trumpeting the Biden accusations over social media and in interviews.
Trump has also promoted many of Derkach’s claims, including retweeting posts of the manipulated audio recordings of Biden referenced by the Treasury Department.
Last month, Giuliani forcefully pushed back after the U.S. intelligence community released a unanimous assessment concluding that Derkach’s Biden smear was part of Russia’s pro-Trump interference in the 2020 election.
“Bulls — t, same as last time,” Giuliani told The New York Daily News at the time.
The ex-New York mayor did not return a request for comment after Mnuchin’s sanctions announcement.
Giuliani’s obsession with the Bidens has, of course, been thoroughly embraced by Trump.
The House impeached Trump in December for pressuring Ukraine’s president to launch an investigation into Biden while holding up $391 million in U.S. military aid as leverage.
The Senate eventually acquitted Trump after only one Republican, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, voted to remove the president from office over his Ukraine scheme.
A couple of GOP-controlled Senate committees have since picked up the torch by launching investigations into the very Biden accusations that prompted Trump’s impeachment — even though U.S. intelligence officials have warned that the claims were likely the product of a Russian plot.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who spearheaded the Trump impeachment investigation, pointed out the irony in Thursday’s sanctions announcement.
“Even as the Treasury Department acknowledges Derkach has been an active Russian agent with close connections to the Russian Intelligence Services, and identifies the narrative that he is promoting as ‘false and unsubstantiated,’ the president of the United States continues to push out the same false claims,” Schiff said.
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