Bi­den email saga shows risk to Trump from Gi­u­liani

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - National -

WASH­ING­TON — A New York tabloid’s puz­zling ac­count about how it ac­quired emails pur­port­edly from Joe Bi­den’s son has raised some red flags. One of the big­gest in­volves the source of the emails: Rudy Gi­u­liani.

Mr. Gi­u­liani has trav­eled abroad look­ing for dirt on the Bi­dens, de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships with shad­owy fig­ures, in­clud­ing a Ukrainian law­maker who U. S. of­fi­cials have de­scribed as a Rus­sian agent and part of a broader Rus­sian ef­fort to den­i­grate the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

Yet Mr. Gi­u­liani says for­eign sources didn’t pro­vide the Hunter Bi­den emails. He says a lap­top con­tain­ing the emails and in­ti­mate photos was sim­ply aban­doned in a Delaware re­pair shop and the shop owner reached out to Mr. Gi­u­liani’s lawyer.

That hasn’t stopped the FBI from in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the emails are part of a for­eign in­flu­ence op­er­a­tion. The emails have sur­faced as U. S. of­fi­cials have been warn­ing that Rus­sia, which backed Mr. Trump’s 2016 cam­paign through hack­ing of Demo­cratic emails and a covert so­cial me­dia cam­paign, is in­ter­fer­ing

again this year. The lat­est episode with Mr. Gi­u­liani un­der­scores the risk he poses to a White House that spent years con­fronted by a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether Trump as­so­ci­ates had co­or­di­nated with Rus­sia.

The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported Thurs­day that in­tel­li­gence agen­cies had warned the White House

last year that Mr. Gi­u­liani was the tar­get of a Rus­sian in­flu­ence op­er­a­tion. The news­pa­per, cit­ing four for­mer of­fi­cials, said that as­sess­ment was based on in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing in­ter­cepted com­mu­ni­ca­tions show­ing Mr. Gi­u­liani had been in con­tact with peo­ple tied to Rus­sian in­tel­li­gence.

The news­pa­per said

na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Robert O’Brien had warned Mr. Trump that in­for­ma­tion Mr. Gi­u­liani brought back from Ukraine should be con­sid­ered con­tam­i­nated by Rus­sia, but that Mr. Trump brushed off the warn­ing.

The New York Post be­gan pub­lish­ing sto­ries about the emails Wed­nes­day, say­ing it had ob­tained them from the for­mer New York mayor.

Pa­trick Se­man­sky/ As­so­ci­ated Press

White House press sec­re­tary Kayleigh McE­nany dis­plays a copy of the New York Post as she speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at the White House on Sept. 24.

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