Federal agents raided the home and office of Rudy Giuliani at dawn, Wednesday, April 28, seizing computers and cellphones. While he hasn’t been charged with any crime yet, the DOJ has been investigating Giuliani for his dealings in Ukraine while working as President Trump’s personal lawyer, and charges could wait in the future.
Giuliani is far from the first Trump associate to face federal investigation for allegedly violating laws that – not that long ago – were rarely actively enforced. Is the raid about Giuliani’s supposed lobbying in Ukraine without registering as a foreign agent? Or is the Deep State simply targeting Trump allies because they couldn’t get to the Donald himself?
It Came From FARA Way
The Foreign Agents Registration Act was enacted back in 1938 in response to Nazi agents spreading propaganda in the U.S. According to the law, anyone who acts on behalf of foreign political parties, governments, or people must register as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice. It’s an old transparency law that no one has paid much attention to since the end of the Cold War.
The first case was brought against three Soviet propagandists in 1939. During the World War II era, 19 cases were brought against 61 parties – 46 of whom were convicted. From 1946 to 1966, 12 cases were brought against 27 organizations and individuals, resulting in 13 convictions. The agency focused more on civil cases than criminal from 1967 to 1987, only bringing two criminal cases in two decades.
Along Came Trump
Then along came Donald Trump, the political outsider who took the Swamp by storm. FARA once again became mainstream with the Mueller investigation. Michael Flynn was pursued by the FBI as a Russian agent while working on the Trump transition team. Charges were brought against Trump campaign aides Richard Gates and Paul Manafort, political consultant Samuel Patten, venture capitalist and Trump donor Imaad Zuberi, Flynn business partner Bijan Rafiekian, Trump fundraiser Elliot Broidy, and Nickie Mali Lum Davis, the Hawaii businesswoman who tried unsuccessfully to convince the Trump administration to drop a civil case against a Malaysian government-owned company.
In the last 33 years, 13 people have been charged with criminal FARA violations – and more than half of them were known Trump associates charged within the last two years. And what of civil cases? The 2019 case against the Florida broadcasting company that distributed the Russian radio channel Sputnik was the DOJ’s first civil FARA win since 1991.
The Impeachment Saga Continues
Is the investigation into Rudy Giuliani about his alleged crimes, or simply another example of an enraged Deep State lashing out at whoever it can since it clearly couldn’t touch Trump? Giuliani’s alleged crime – supposedly working with Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden – is precisely what the Democrats did in 2016 with the Steele Dossier. And it isn’t far from what Biden himself did – then bragged about – when he got the Ukrainian prosecutor fired to prevent an investigation that involved his son.
Giuliani has led the charge in challenging the 2020 election results and pursuing the investigation of information found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, and some believe this is payback. Though that is not the opinion of former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Daniel Goldman, he did say during an interview on MSNBC that “this is really the financial side of the impeachment inquiry, which was the political side …” His angle seemed to be the leftist narrative that Trump and his associates all had dirty dealings in Ukraine, but it also demonstrates the fact that, right or wrong, this is about Trump, not Giuliani. As if to drive that point home, also on the video call was disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok – the one involved in some “insurance policy” should Trump manage to win the 2016 election.
If charges are brought, the former president’s attorney will join a particularly historic club – but when talking about associates of the first-ever president to be impeached – and acquitted – twice, that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Read more from James Fite.