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Jonathan Capehart Lays Waste to Rudy Giuliani’s Defense of His Relationship With Sanctioned Russian Agent

Jonathan Capehart Lays Waste to Rudy Giuliani’s Defense of His Relationship With Sanctioned Russian Agent

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s cable news attorney, has been trying to downplay his relationship with Andrii Derkach, a member of the Ukranian Parliament whom the Treasury Department identified as an active Russian agent on Thursday.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In the same announcement, the Treasury Department also imposed sanctions against three associates of Derkach:

Treasury designated Andrii Derkach (Derkach) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13848 for his efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Derkach, a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services. Derkach has directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign interference in an attempt to undermine the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election. Today’s designation of Derkach is focused on exposing Russian malign influence campaigns and protecting our upcoming elections from foreign interference. This action is a clear signal to Moscow and its proxies that this activity will not be tolerated. The Administration is working across the U.S. Government, and with state, local, and private sector partners, to make the 2020 election secure.

‘Andrii Derkach and other Russian agents employ manipulation and deceit to attempt to influence elections in the United States and elsewhere around the world,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to counter these Russian disinformation campaigns and uphold the integrity of our election system.’

Giuliani met with Derkach in 2019 as part of a scheme to extort Ukraine to produce non-existent dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter – the very same plot for which Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.

Derkach was sanctioned back in March, but Giuliani has continued to defend their relationship.

“I never tried to influence the election, and my work with him was over months ago well before the election,” Giuliani told NPR on Friday. “He had no unique information that wasn’t already known except the $5.3 billion and that is being investigated in UKRAINE.”

In an appearance on Saturday’s edition of MSNBC’s AM Joy, guest anchor Jonathan Capehart pressed Giuliani – who owns a national security consulting firm – on why he has maintained a relationship with a known Russian intelligence officer and continues to press Ukraine for dirt on Biden, a conspiracy theory that has been thoroughly debunked.

“The first time I met Derkach was in November of last year, and I met him on television, and I’ve interviewed him three times, and they’re all a matter of public record,” Giuliani said. “You can go to rudygiulianicommonsense.com and you can see two of the three interviews.”

Capehart was not buying it.

“That’s a nice plug for your podcast,” Capehart quipped.”Have you ever paid or facilitated payments to Derkach for any information, or vice versa?”

Giuliani brushed off the question.

“No. I don’t pay people for information, Jonathan,” Giuliani chuckled. “You’ve known me long enough to know I woulnd’t do that. You covered me when I was mayor and when I was US attorney. You know I’m not a dishonest person.”

Capehart told Giuliani he was “glad he brought that up, because I have covered you since my early days on the New York Daily News editorial page, and as I mentioned, you made your name as the SDNY federal prosecutor. You were mayor of New York City twice.”

The remainder of the exchange was simply bonkers.

Giuliani: “New York City was “better when I was mayor, right?”

Capehart: “Well no, the person who succeeded you made it even better, and that was Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg.”

Giuliani: “He did! I turned it around and he made it better, you’re right, but the guy who’s running it now is ruining it. You admit that, right? The guy who’s running it now is ruining it, right?”

Giuliani’s deflection failed spectacularly and Capehart grilled him like a well-done steak (Trump’s preference).


The idea that a former federal prosecutor of SDNY, former two-term mayor of New York City, a person who has a national security firm… I’m trying to understand how someone of your stature and career… what happened to you, Mayor Giuliani? Why are you out here spewing conspiracy theories and lies and interfering with an American election? What happened to you?

Giuliani’s reply was complete gibberish:

I’m not interfering with an American election. Indicting Steve Bannon is interfering with an American election, but that’s okay.

Capehart immediately called out that lie:

You were running around the world trying to find evidence, and you’re not finding any that can’t be debunked by fact-checkers all over the country – trying to undermine the Democratic presidential nominee.

Giuliani maintained that he was, essentially, just following orders, and that MSNBC was the real coverupper.

“I am not!,” Giuliani growled. “I was defending my client Donald J. Trump against false charges that have been proven to be false, and that your network refuses to publish… you won’t publish the twelve cell phones that were wiped by prosecutors.” Prosecutors don’t wipe cell phones, Jonathan, by accident, not twelve of them.”

Giuliani pivoted to blaming Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the “Mueller people” of “obstructing justice,” the second high crime for which Trump was impeached.

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“As we’ve said,” Giuliani continued, Mueller’s team consisted of “Democratic operatives posing as prosecutors.” This too has been debunked. “But your network doesn’t cover it, so your listeners never hear that,” Giuliani snarled.

“I’m not covering conspiracy theories, I’m not covering lies, Mr. Giuliani” Capehart said, with Giuliani rambling about how cable news viewers should “get to decide” what the truth is, instead of from Capehart’s “biased Democratic point of view, Jonathan. That’s not right to the American people.”

Capehart attempted to conclude the interview by alluding to a Thursday tweet posted by Lev Parnas – a former Giuliani associate who was indicted on alleged campaign finance violations last year and served as a witness at Trump’s impeachment trial – that basically calls Giuliani a liar:

So now @RudyGiuliani, @realDonaldTrump’s attorney, wants the world to believe that he did not know who Derkach was when he flew to Ukraine with @ChanelRion and @OANN to receive misinformation on @JoeBiden. #LevRemembers #RudyNeverLearns #TruthMatters

“What is your response to that tweet?” Capehart asked.


Lev was in jail when that happened. He’s lying, because he wouldn’t possibly, couldn’t possibly know. I wasn’t in contact with him then. He got arrested and I broke off contact with him. He was in jail when that happened. The guy is a known liar, crook, thief, and you know, my business, security, national security, prosecution, you deal with bad people to get information. I mean, that’s how I made all my cases against the mafia, against crooked politicians.

Giuliani repeated the false conspiracy about Biden and Ukraine.

The case against Biden is overwhelming. I could prove it in a four-week trial better than I could prosecuted Fat Tony Salerno.

But Giuliani, again, touted the nonsense that Biden “took millions from foreign governments to sell his office” and that “your station is covering it up, and you’re not saying it to the American people, Jonathan.”

Poetically, Parnas was Capehart’s next guest.

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