Is Rudy Giuliani a Russian Pawn?

Rudy Giuliani demonstrating something or other to the press after a television interview.Stefani Reynolds/CNP via ZUMA

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The bombshell story of Hunter Biden’s computer goes something like this: Rudy Giuliani was strolling around in Wilmington one day when he noticed a hard drive lying on the sidewalk. When he hooked it up, it turned out to be full of incriminating evidence about Hunter Biden’s lobbying for a Ukrainian energy company, along with some risque photos. What luck! So he gave it to the FBI and turned over a copy to his pals at the New York Post, who put it all on their front page.

OK, that’s not exactly how it happened. But it might as well be, since the actual story is hardly any more believable. Tonight, the New York Times provides some hints about what probably really happened:

The intelligence agencies warned the White House late last year that Russian intelligence officers were using President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani as a conduit for disinformation aimed at undermining Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential run, according to four current and former American officials.

….Mr. Giuliani has made multiple trips to Ukraine to gather material that is damaging to the Biden campaign, and his December visit came as he tried to shift the political conversation from impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump to unsubstantiated claims about Mr. Biden’s wrongdoing.

Conservatives are apoplectic that mainstream news organizations are mostly ignoring the hard drive story (so far) and that both Twitter and Facebook initially acted to limit the spread of the Post story. And I hardly blame them for being disappointed. After all, this kind of thing has always worked so well in the past, so why not this time too?

That’s hard to say. The optimistic take is that everyone has learned a lesson from 2016. The less optimistic take is simply that (a) Giuliani is a nutcase these days, and (b) he’s been publicly searching for precisely this kind of thing for over a year. It’s hardly believable when he comes up with precisely what he wanted just three weeks before the election.

Republicans are mostly hanging back on this story, since they know it could blow up any moment. However, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to open an investigation of Twitter, apparently as a safe way of keeping this story in the spotlight without actually taking a stand on it. Stay tuned.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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