May 1, 2021

Posted by orrinj at 7:07 PM


Giuliani's Legal Trouble Is Trump's Too (RENATO MARIOTTI, 05/02/2021 , Politico)

The investigation reportedly centers around Giuliani's efforts to lobby the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs who were also helping him dig up dirt on then-candidate Biden and his family during the campaign. At issue, as well, are Giuliani's efforts to persuade Trump to oust the ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whose anti-corruption work was viewed hostilely by those same Ukrainian officials. If Giuliani's efforts to push Trump to fire Yovanovitch were done on behalf of Ukrainian officials, that could be the sort of foreign lobbying activity that he should have disclosed.

Thus far, Giuliani has tried to hide behind mere technicalities, arguing that he didn't have a written contract with a foreign official or oligarch. He won't get away with that in court. What matters is whether he was an agent of a foreign government, not whether his relationship with that foreign government was memorialized in writing. You can't avoid FARA requirements by failing to write down the details of your arrangement with a foreign government.

Giuliani's work in Ukraine has been the subject of controversy for two years and was central to the first impeachment probe of Trump's pressure on the new Ukrainian president. But, according to The New York Times, senior DOJ political appointees in the Justice Department repeatedly tried to block the search warrants, which suggests that the department has had the evidence it needs against Giuliani for some time.

Those prior efforts to slow down the investigation won't help Giuliani now. If anything, they may eventually work against Giuliani if it is shown that they were done at his urging. Giuliani's foolish public statements (he claimed erroneously that search warrants can only be issued if there is a fear the evidence will be destroyed) won't help him either if he is ultimately indicted. At that point, he will need to adopt a defense strategy that may put him at odds with his former client.

Giuliani's defense will likely be that he was acting completely at Trump's direction and that his efforts on behalf of the officials and oligarchs was done to curry favor with them on Trump's behalf, and was done at Trump's behest and his knowledge. Purely from a perspective of trial strategy, Giuliani's best defense would include testimony from the former president that he knew everything Giuliani was doing and approved of every action he took. That would permit Giuliani's defense team to argue that since he was ultimately advancing Trump's interests, he was actually working on behalf of the United States, not Ukrainian oligarchs.

Posted by orrinj at 5:03 PM


Cali Influencer Charged for Wild Claim That Latino Couple Tried to Kidnap Her Kids (Justin Rohrlich, May. 01, 2021, Daily Beast)

A California mom and Instagram influencer who went viral last December after accusing a Latino couple of attempting to kidnap her kids in a Petaluma crafts store has been charged with giving false information to police, according to county prosecutors.

Posted by orrinj at 12:09 PM


DOJ slapped aside Trump holdovers to raid Giuliani after months of delays: report (Tom Boggioni, May 01, 2021, Raw Story)

According to a report from NBC/New York, plans to raid the home of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani languished for months in the Justice Department and only came about due to new leadership under President Joe Biden.

On Thursday, the home and office of Giuliani was the subject of a raid with federal agents "collecting phones and computers as part of their probe into whether he broke U.S. lobbying laws by failing to register as a foreign agent related to his work," the report states.

Those plans had been on hold dating back to the Trump Administration when the Justice Department was headed by Attorney General Bill Barr.

Under the Biden administration -- and in particular under newly appointed Attorney General Merrick Garland -- the Justice Department is dusting off the files and proceeding with multiple investigations that had stalled out.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


How the US won the economic recovery (Dylan Matthews, Apr 30, 2021, Vox)

In March 2020, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law the CARES Act, which sent out no-strings-attached checks to the vast majority of Americans for the first time. The bill also dramatically increased the generosity of unemployment insurance, making many workers whole and, for some months, leaving most workers (including Holloway) with more money than they would have earned at their employer. It paused evictions and created a new near-universal child tax credit reaching the poorest families with children.

Then lawmakers did it again in December 2020, passing another bill that offered bonus unemployment benefits and one-time $600-per-person checks.

Under President Biden, the government passed yet another bill, with one-time $1,400-per-person checks, another bonus unemployment measure, and hundreds of billions in relief money for state and local governments.

The result? The poverty rate in the US fell in early 2020. The government did so much to assist its citizens that many people were left financially better off than before the pandemic.

As an American who supports large government intervention to help those in need, I'm used to envying other nations' governments. I envy European universal health care systems, France's crèches for child care, and Finland's success at reducing homelessness.

When my editors asked me to write a story for our Pandemic Playbook series on the country that I thought "got Covid-19 right" economically, I immediately looked abroad. I spent a few weeks researching and writing about Japan, which has kept unemployment low and spent big to fight the economic downturn.

But as I was working on my Japan article, the US adopted Biden's American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion behemoth of a bill. With that step coming after the two Trump relief bills, the US just about matched Japan's spending to fight the downturn. And as I looked into the details, it became impossible to deny that the US spent the money better.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Poll: Voters Favor Biden's Border Strategy -- Including Republicans (Amy Lieu, May 01 | 2021, National Memo)

A Civiqs/Immigration Hub poll, which surveyed just over 3,000 voters from April 15-20, revealed that 85% of Americans believe the U.S. government should work more closely with other countries to reduce immigration before it starts.

Among Republicans, that number was even higher, at 87%.

Among Democrats, 86% said the United States needed to work with foreign nations to address the root causes of immigration; 81% of independents said the same.

"After four years of harsh, inhumane immigration tactics aimed at deterring people from coming to America, we now see a public and a president intent on taking a new approach," Immigration Hub executive director Sergio Gonzales said in a statement on Thursday. "In particular, as Vice President Harris continues to roll out new initiatives and achievements in addressing the root causes of migration with our neighbors to the south, voters strongly support the need for this type of regional leadership. They understand that migration at our border is driven by desperate circumstances such as extreme hunger and violence."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Federal Investigators in Giuliani Probe Seeking Evidence Related to Marie Yovanovitch: Report (ZACHARY EVANS, April 30, 2021, National Review)

Search warrants executed by federal agents sought communications between Giuliani and his associates who pushed for Yovanovitch's ouster as ambassador in 2019, people familiar with the warrants told the Journal. The warrants reportedly sought evidence connected with former Ukrainian prosecutors general Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko, former prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, and former president Petro Poroshenko.

Federal U.S. prosectors have investigated the theory that Giuliani pushed to remove Yovanovitch at the urging of Ukrainian officials, in exchange for information about the Biden family dealings in Ukraine.