Rudy Giuliani has flip-flopped on his claim to have been tipped off to the FBI’s attacks on Hillary Clinton. After boasting, with vicious glee, about the Trump campaign having a “couple of things up our sleeve,” right before the FBI started hurling mud at Clinton, Giuliani insisted on The Kelly File Friday night that he was referring to pro-Trump advertisements.
I’ve written about the connections between Giuliani, the Trump campaign, some FBI agents and Fox News in several recent posts. But the best, most concise and most thorough reporting I’ve seen comes from Wayne Barrett, in The Daily Beast, and Rachel Maddow, in the first video below.
In Maddow’s detailed explanation, she walked through the financial and other connections between Donald Trump’s largest donor, Robert Mercer; Breitbart.com; Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway; the Clinton hit-book, Clinton Cash; the New York field office of the FBI; and the inquiry into Hillary Clinton that was trumpeted on Fox News and by the Trump campaign. Later, Maddow tied in Trump campaign surrogate, Rudy Giuliani.
Maddow noted the FBI connection to Giuliani and Fox, starting at about 12:05 in the video:
MADDOW: It’s one thing to cook up a dubious, conspiratorial political attack and fling it at your political opponent. It’s another thing altogether to cook up a dubious, conspiratorial political attack like this and have the FBI fling it at your opponent. That’s a different thing. And that is what the FBI, at least part of the FBI, is now doing in this election. They’re using stuff from Breitbart.com, apparently as their research, as their evidence and then they’re leaking about their new investigation into this evidence to Fox News, right before the election.
And here’s the really creepy part. Here’s the prospect that the anti-Clinton, Breitbart readers in this one office of the FBI, they’re not just leaking this stuff to Fox News, not just leaking this stuff to the conservative media. Here’s the prospect that they’re leaking this stuff to the Trump campaign directly.
Maddow then played the following clip of Giuliani on Fox News, two days before FBI Director James Comey sent his bombshell letter to Congress about continuing to review Hillary Clinton’s emails:
GIULIANI: He’s [Trump] got a surprise or two that you’re gonna hear about in the next few days. I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprise.
When asked by host Martha MacCallum what he meant by that, Giuliani said teasingly, “You’ll see,” and then he laughed maliciously. He added:
GIULIANI: We’re not gonna go down and we’re certainly not gonna stop fighting. We’ve got a couple things up our sleeve that should turn this around.
That Maddow clip aired November 3, 2016. The next day, Giuliani appeared on Fox & Friends and seemed to confirm that he was in on the anti-Hillary fix at the FBI.
GIULIANI: I did nothing to get it out. I had no role in it. Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it and I can’t even repeat the language that I heard.
But that night, after two top Democratic Congressmen asked the Department of Justice to investigate leaks from the FBI to Giuliani, he had quite a different story to tell Megyn Kelly. And, frankly, I’m surprised she didn’t laugh in his face.
GIULIANI: This is the vast right-wing conspiracy garbage all over again. You can investigate me. I spoke to no current FBI agents ever, in the last 10 months. I’ve had no communications with them. I haven’t destroyed any of my emails. I haven’t hammered my cell phone. All my communications were with former FBI agents.
Now, I think it’s quite possible Giuliani got his information from a former FBI agent (like James Kallstrom) who got inside information from somebody still within the agency. What kind of leaking that constitutes or not I don’t know. But I do know that Giuliani’s “explanation” to Kelly was an insult to the intelligence of Fox New viewers, no matter low that may be.
KELLY: So when you said to Martha MacCallum that, you know, “I think Trump’s got a surprise or two, you’re gonna hear about in the next couple days…”
GIULIANI: You know what I was talking about? I was talking about his advertising this weekend. Because we were having a big debate about whether he should give a big speech or do a bunch of advertising. That’s what I was talking about. That he was going to go on television and talk directly to the American people.
Kelly obviously didn’t buy it. But she didn’t push for more.
KELLY: That would have been kind of lame. You should be glad that something bigger came out, to not make a liar out of you.
GIULIANI: I had no idea that Jim Comey was going to do what he did, not the slightest idea. What I did know – I’ll be absolutely truthful with you – what I did know is, from three or four former FBI agents, that the people within the FBI, they were telling me this, were outraged at Jim Comey’s decision in July, they believed it was a prosecutable case.
Kelly did challenge him on that. But what Kelly did not ask about was the other matter, Bret Baier’s explosive, anonymously-sourced report that Clinton was likely to be indicted and that her private email server had been hacked by several foreign intelligence agencies. Baier walked back and apologized for that reporting Friday as well.
Giuliani told the same story to Wolf Blitzer and, to his credit, Blitzer pressed Giuliani the way Kelly did not.
Watch the videos from the November 3, 2016 Rachel Maddow show, the November 4, 2016 The Kelly File and the November 4, 2016 The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer below. And let me know if you agree this whole situation stinks to high heaven, with Fox right in the middle.
Let’s remember the actual people at FBI Comey had doing the Hillary server investigation unanimously agreed there was no there there. It’s people who weren’t involved in it who are enraged.
So Baier’s — and Herridge’s and Rudy’s and etc — sources almost certainly have only third-hand information at best.
When you listen carefully to Herridge’s reports, most of the time it’s “an intelligence source tells Fox News” or a “law enforcement source.” That could mean almost anything.
Yeah, this entire story is a Gordian Knot.
I’ve heard some whisperings Rudy might be investigated. If nothing else, it will wipe the degusting smirk from his face. Him cackling like the evil witch in “Wizard of Oz” on Fox News hinting of an October Surprise stink bomb is cringe-worthy.
Who was the source for Bret Baier’s propaganda spew on Hillary getting indicted and other nastiness? We know Rudy was feeding the Trump campaign. It’s not unreasonable he was Bret’s source – or should I say Catherine Herridge’s source – given the fact the hack didn’t even source his bulls—t to an internal FBI source if we carefully parse his words.
It doesn’t matter, at it’s root, the real villain is FBI director Comey. I’ll accept what I’m hearing from non-partisans Comey is a stand-up guy. However, his judgement is horrible and was a direct, unnecessary interference into Election 2016.
Almost equally disgusting to me is Fox News’ reaction. Even after Bret was embarrassed into confessing he made s—t up by other networks debunking his shabby reporting, Foxies kept running with ridiculous speculation and conspiracy theories. Even an unrepentant Baier kept promising to revalidate his nonsense with his discredited sourcing. Now that Comey has admitted there’s no there there, Fox News is still raising Hell and blowing hellfire smoke.
For example, “Fox & Friends” just mentioned a much repeated talking point there’s no way the FBI could sort through 650,000 emails. However, as CNN has pointed out, they’re using advanced analytics designed for this very task and time tested in previous investigations. Certainly Comey vaguely talking of some thousands and the ones subject to the search warrant could have easily been flagged before Comey’s 1st letter reopening the investigation.
No matter. Fox News is pretty much propping up Trump’s narrative the system is rigged by casting doubt on the FBI’s results. Certainly, Fox News is not critical of Trump’s conspiracy theory smear the FBI is in the tank for Hillary. If so, why would Comey have reopened the inquiry?
Naw. A Rudy Attorney General gig in a Trump presidency doesn’t work for me. I don’t look good in a brown shirt. ;^)
Nuh-uh. Gotta read these guys more carefully. Baier said “sources intimately familiar with the investigation.” That’s not FBI-sourced, that’s outsider sourced who are repeating at best 2nd-hand info.
Baier may be an a$$hole, as i think he is, but he’s careful with the words he chooses to characterize sources to preserve deniability. He wants you to think he’s talking about FBI insiders, but he’s not.
Everything since has revealed more and more of his complete lack of anything that could point to a decent bone in his body. Just a hateful, vengeance-filled creep with a hyper-inflated sense of his own abilities and importance. Despicable Him.
It won’t be the last we hear of him. He’ll be a constant guest on Fox News spitting out the same dull talking points.