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Giuliani Defends Trump Campaign's Use of Stolen Russian Information
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=45857"><span class="small">Melanie Schmitz, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Monday, 22 April 2019 08:31

Schmitz writes: "Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani defended Russian interference efforts in the 2016 election on Sunday, claiming that 'people had a right to know' what was in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails and those stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee."

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. (photo: Siavosh Hoaawni/Nuriphoto/Getty Images)
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. (photo: Siavosh Hoaawni/Nuriphoto/Getty Images)

Giuliani Defends Trump Campaign's Use of Stolen Russian Information

By Melanie Schmitz, ThinkProgress

22 April 19

"Who say it's even illegal?"

rump lawyer Rudy Giuliani defended Russian interference efforts in the 2016 election on Sunday, claiming that “people had a right to know” what was in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails and those stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee.

Giuliani’s comments came during an interview on Meet the Press, one of several stops he made on the Sunday morning news circuit to defend President Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling.

In addition to outlining the ways Russia interfered in the election to swing the results in Trump’s favor, including hacking Clinton’s and the DNC’s emails, the report detailed 10 instances involving the president that may have constituted obstruction of justice.

“I wonder if there isn’t an argument that the people had a right to know that information about Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani said. “People had a right to know that Hillary Clinton and the people around her were as dishonest, as deceptive, as duplicitous as they actually are.”

Asked why Trump didn’t simply point out Clinton’s flaws using “honest campaign” methods instead of information stolen by a foreign adversary, Giuliani jumped to Trump’s defense, claiming the president and his associates had only thought about conspiring with the Russians and had never actually followed through.

“Oh my goodness. If someone on the campaign wanted to do something wrong… a lot of people on Hillary Clinton’s campaign wanted to do something wrong,” he said.

“The legal standard that makes it possible [for] us not to be prosecuted for our thoughts is…’Did Trump or anyone from the Trump campaign participate in the dissemination of hacked material?’ And the answer is no,” he continued. “It had already been disseminated.”

He added, “This investigation wasn’t nationwide news, international news for three years because the Russians tried to invade our election. They’ve done that before. We just caught them this time. The real news here is ‘Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to do this,’ making him almost a traitor.”

In a separate interview with CNN Sunday, Giuliani took things a step further, questioning whether it was “illegal” to take hacked documents from foreign adversaries.

“Any candidate in the whole world in America would take information” detrimental to their opponent, Giuliani said, referring to the Trump Tower meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian officials in June 2016, at which the campaign expected to receive damaging information about Clinton.

Host Jake Tapper cut in, reminding Giuliani that the information to which he was referring to had been offered up by Russia, who was actively engaged in election meddling at the time.

From a foreign source, a hostile foreign source?” Tapper asked. 

“Who say it’s even illegal?” Giuliani responded.

Mueller’s report, which was made public on Thursday last week, laid out in detail the many ways Russian actors attempted to swing the results of the 2016 election in Trump’s favor, sometimes even offering information to the Trump campaign through emissaries like WikiLeaks, which published some of the hacked information online in the summer of 2016.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was one of those offered stolen information, according to Mueller and previous news reports.

In September 2016, Trump Jr. shared a series of back and forth Twitter messages with WikiLeaks, during which the site shared a password to access an “anti-Trump site that [was] about to launch.” Trump Jr. then used the password to access the site, passing messages about it to the campaign.

“I tried the password and it works,” he wrote in one email.

(Legal experts believe that act alone — accessing a site that was password-protected without permission — may have constituted a crime.)

WikiLeaks also asked Trump Jr. to tweet a link with negative information about Clinton, weeks later, to which he replied that he “had done so” already.

Others linked to the Trump campaign, including former adviser and longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, may have also had contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign. Details of those alleged interactions remain a mystery, as most of the passages in the report on that topic have been redacted. Stone faces trial later this year on charges of obstruction, witness tampering, and lying to investigators.

Although the White House has claimed Mueller’s report totally exonerates the president on charges of “collusion,” the special counsel did not actually set out to investigate those allegations. Instead, as outlined in the report, Mueller attempted to find concrete evidence of criminal coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Ultimately, he was unable to prove that coordination existed.

“We understood coordination to require an agreement-tacit or express — between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference. That requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests,” the special counsel wrote. “We applied the term coordination in that sense when stating in the report that the investigation did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

However, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on allegations Trump obstructed justice during the course of the investigation. Though he laid out in great detail the 10 instances which may have constituted interference, he left it up to Congress to take the next step.

“With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” Mueller wrote.

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For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

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-2 # Anne Frank 2019-04-22 09:58
In their eagerness to promote preparations for World War III, Schmitz and her deep state handlers continue the big lie of "Russian interference efforts in the 2016 election" by "hacking Clinton’s and the DNC’s emails" even though all the published forensic evidence proves nobody hacked Clinton's servers, but, instead, someone with access downloaded the data onto a thumb drive. But why let a bit of truth stand in the way of channeling trillions to the military-indust rial complex to perpetuate wars of aggression and prevent interference with the expansion of Israel?
0 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2019-04-22 12:36
@Anne Frank
Claiming that the info was downloaded onto a thumb drive by a member of Clinton’s campaign for the purpose of exposing campaign malfeasance is just as criminal as stealing that thumb drive for its contents which is just as criminal as hacking into a server from the Internet. When a person or group fails to report a crime and then acts to obtain benefit from that crime, that party is usually classified an accessory after the fact, a criminal designation.
0 # Salus Populi 2019-05-01 08:00
This rather misses the point Frank was making. If, say, Saudi Arabia sends 15 Wahabbi or Salafist fanatics to crash airplanes into the WTC, and in response, the president orders the bombing and invasion of Iraq, that is hardly justice being done. If a disgruntled staffer on the East Coast sends information to WikiLeaks, and in response, the Secret Police State lies and claims that Russia is at fault in order to generate New Cold War hysteria, it is beside the point that there was indeed a crime committed in the downloading of the stolen info. The "accessories after the fact," in the present case, are the CIA/NSA/FBI directors who helped the Pentagon profit from the original crime.
0 # Salus Populi 2019-04-22 14:25
Yep. A Big Lie repeated often enough, and exclusively enough -- that is, denying a platform of any sort to any dissident views, no matter how well grounded and documented [see VIPS forensic report, Craig Murray's personal knowledge, the fat-out denial by all the "players," including Assange, who has, in around 20 years of running Wikileaks, never yet been found to have lied about the source of any of Wikileaks' data, the evidence of Facebook posts that were overwhelmingly not related at all to electoral politics, and in the small fraction that were, were all over the political map, etc.] -- leads to the transformation of the Big Lie to Revealed Truth, to the cultists who Want to Believe.

A good example from a previous, yet recent enough, period, is the Big Lie about Milosevich's speech of 1989, and the infamous photo supposedly showing starving Muslim p.o.w.s behind a fence, along with the faked "massacre," that were all used to convince the populace that, in Madeleine Albright's words, "The Serbs need some bombing." [Go to for the full refutation of all of the above.]
+4 # BetaTheta 2019-04-22 10:30
Giuliani's ideas here are emblematic of a slide into the sort of politics that does not even pay lip service to ethics and public service, but glorifies "winning" at the expense of all else.
0 # revhen 2019-04-22 12:13
Giuliani is merely ignoring the law and defending his client. I wonder how far he'd get in a real court of law with this approach.
0 # lfeuille 2019-04-22 21:40
Mueller's report just restates the intelligence community's (or a carefully selected portion of it) assertion on Russian meddling. I still does not provide proof.
-1 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-04-23 10:30
I have not seen one iota of proof that Russia "hacked" the emails. Assange has repeatedly denied it. Remember "Weapons of Mass Destruction". Just because the media keeps repeating it, just doesn't mean it is true. However, it is a nice distraction from what was actually IN the emails.
0 # Caliban 2019-04-23 15:28
But there was nothing in the emails beyond very normal, boring campaign back and forth. The prevalent assumption that there was scandalous material in them is unsupported and prejudicial to HRC.