Tucker Carlson baselessly claims ‘FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the Capitol,’ his latest whitewashing of Jan. 6

Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson.
Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson.

  • Fox News’ most watched host now refers to the January 6 insurrection with air quotes.
  • In his latest segment whitewashing the riot, Carlson said the FBI was behind it.
  • Carlson’s entire baseless claim hinged on assuming the unindicted co-conspirators are feds.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In his most severe rewriting of history on the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson baselessly claimed the riot was organized by the FBI.

“They were almost certainly working for the FBI, so FBI operatives were organizing the attack at the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents,” Carlson said without showing said documents.

Carlson, the most watched host on Fox News, was referring to the latest indictments handed out in the FBI’s investigation of the siege.

His claim relies solely on assuming that anyone listed anonymously as an “unindicted co-conspirator” must have been an FBI agent. Carlson went even further to claim the agents plotted the attack, implying it may not have happened without them.

Carlson also referred to a fringe conservative media post from Revolver News that contains a list of questions for FBI Director Christopher Wray, purportedly deducing a conclusion on an FBI setup when there is no evidence to support one.

“It turns out that this ‘white supremacist insurrection’ was – again, by the government’s own admission in these documents – organized by government agents,” Carlson said, raising the tone of his voice to convey that he was not serious in describing January 6 as a white supremacist insurrection.

He played a clip from Wray’s testimony on Capitol Hill where he said the FBI is focused on getting “better sources, better information, better analysis” from white supremacist groups to prevent another insurrection from happening.

Although Carlson kept referring to “government documents,” he did not show any on screen.

Fox News did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on whether any of the network’s journalists have been able to verify Carlson’s claim.

Rather than showing the indictments or background information on undercover sourcing in federal investigations, Carlson relied on the Revolver post and citing his usual “they,” a cabal of government and media elites looking to deceive his viewers.

“That’s a line, and the FBI has crossed it,” Carlson said before accusing Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of playing a “victim” because the plot to kidnap her was “a farce” and “insulting” because it involved FBI informants and under cover agents.

“So if you’re wondering why they are always comparing January 6th to 9/11, there’s your answer,” Carlson said. “They’re using the same tactics.”

Carlson then called for the officer who shot unarmed rioter Ashli Babbitt to be arrested.

His guest was Darren Beattie, the author of the Revolver News post who described it as “the most important and the darkest investigative piece they’ve seen in years,” based on what people have told him, and that the late Babbitt deserves answers.

Beattie did not present any evidence to support his claims on air.

“After seeing all of this, you have to ask yourself, does the national security apparatus do anything but conspire against the American people?” Beattie said. “I’m led to conclude that we cannot have a democracy – everything in our politics will be fake and performative until we bring the national security sate, including the FBI, to heel.”

In court, Fox’s lawyers have argued that no “reasonable viewer” would ever take what Carlson says seriously.

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Suspected drug traffickers organized cocaine-stuffed shipments of tuna cans, pineapples, and bananas over a messaging app secretly run by the FBI

Cocaine was shopped in tuna cans, Operation Trojan Shield
Suspected drug traffickers hid cocaine in tuna cans while shipping it internationally, the FBI learned through Operation Trojan Shield.

  • The FBI and its partners duped international criminal organizations with a fake encrypted messaging app.
  • The FBI reviewed more than 20 million messages from suspected criminals using the app.
  • The messages show accused drug traffickers stuffing shipments of tuna cans, bananas, and pineapples with cocaine.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The FBI reviewed more than 20 million messages as part of an international sting operation announced Tuesday that duped suspected criminals into using an encrypted chat app controlled by the agency.

Agents learned through those conversations some of the more creative ways that overseas drug traffickers try to move product, which include stuffing drugs into boxes of bananas, hollowed-out pineapples, and tuna cans.

The FBI said informants provided suspected criminal organizations around the world with 12,000 devices equipped with the FBI-controlled messaging app, which is called ANOM. Operation Trojan Shield, as it’s called, gave law enforcement an opportunity to learn the inner workings of international drug and firearms trafficking organizations.

Court documents first reported by Motherboard’s Joseph Cox show just how closely law enforcement was able to monitor suspected criminals’ plans through an app they were made to believe was secure. The documents include examples of the “criminal conversations” the FBI reviewed.

The court documents quote two people identified by the usernames Ironman and Real G who used the ANOM app in May 2020 to discuss how they would transport drugs between Colombia and Hong Kong. Ironman told Real G that there was no corrupt official at the Hong Kong port to clear a shipment, and asked how the cocaine would be shipped.

In response, Real G sent a photo of packages of suspected cocaine and said it would be shipped in crates of bananas.

Banana shipment, Operation Trojan Shield
Cocaine is sometimes trafficked in banana shipments.

“They cover this with a layer of banana,” the user said, according to the court documents.

The court documents show that in October 2020, an organization arranged to transport cocaine from Ecuador to Belgium in a shipping container hidden among cans of tuna. US agents who worked in Brussels searched the container alongside local police and found 613 kilograms of cocaine inside, and an additional 1,523 kilos of the drug were found in a different container headed to Antwerp, according to the documents.

In April 2021, the FBI learned that a criminal organization was planning to ship cocaine from Ecuador to Spain using a container filled with refrigerated fish, according to the documents. Law enforcement from Spain searched the container when it arrived into the Port of Algeciras and found 1,401 kilos of cocaine.

A month later, the FBI and law enforcement in Spain intercepted a shipment to the same port and found 1,595 kilos of cocaine stuffed into hollowed-out pineapples, according to the documents.

pineapple. Operation Trojan Shield
Drug traffickers shipped cocaine in hallowed-out pineapples, the FBI said.

“The conversations detailed above are a small sample set pulled from more than 20 million messages that FBI reviewed of Anom’s criminal users,” FBI Special Agent Nicholas I. Cheviron wrote in a court document seeking a search warrant for Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. “From those messages, more than 450,000 photos have been sent detailing conversations on other encrypted platforms discussing criminal activity, cryptocurrency transactions, bulk cash smuggling, law enforcement corruption, and self-identification information.”

Those communications included alleged “plots to kill, mass drug trafficking and gun distribution,” Australian police said in an announcement Tuesday.

Information gleaned from the app ultimately led to the arrests of 800 people in Australia and across Europe, according to the FBI and Europol. In addition to the drugs, law enforcement also seized 55 luxury vehicles and more than $48 million in various currencies as part of the operation, Europol said in its release.

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The FBI recovered a huge chunk of the Colonial Pipeline ransom by secretly gaining access to Darkside’s bitcoin wallet password

The bitcoin logo is seen on a smartphone screen device in front of a computer screen that says "cancelled. "
The FBI managed to gain access to the “private key” of a bitcoin wallet that the hacking group Darkside used to collect its ransom payments.

The Department of Justice announced Monday that it had recovered a majority of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline to hackers who shut down its operations last month and caused massive fuel shortages and price hikes.

The DOJ said that it had recovered $2.3 million worth of bitcoin out of the $4.4 million ransom that Colonial had paid to Darkside, the group behind the hack.

How did the government pull it off?

The FBI had what was effectively the password to a bitcoin wallet that Darkside had sent the ransom money to, allowing the FBI to simply seize the funds, according to the DOJ.

‘Following the money’

Despite cybercriminals’ increasingly sophisticated use of technology to commit crimes, the DOJ said it used a time-tested approach to recover Colonial’s ransom payment.

“Following the money remains one of the most basic, yet powerful tools we have,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in the DOJ’s press release.

Colonial was hacked by Darkside on May 7, and alerted the FBI that same day, according to the DOJ.

On May 8, with its operations knocked offline and amid an emerging gas crisis, Colonial opted to pay the ransom (much to the chagrin of government crimefighters who were simultaneously trying to shut down the hack).

Colonial told the FBI that Darkside had instructed it to send 75 bitcoin, worth about $4.3 million at the time, according to an affadavit from an FBI special agent involved in the investigation.

The FBI agent then used a blockchain explorer – software that lets users search a blockchain, like bitcoin, to determine the amount and destination of transactions – to figure out that Darkside had tried to launder the money through various bitcoin addresses (similar to bank accounts), according to the affadavit.

Eventually, through the blockchain explorer, the FBI agent was able to track 63.7 bitcoin to a single address that had received an influx of payments on May 27.

Fortunately for the FBI, according to the agent’s affadavit, the agency had the private key (effectively the password) for that very address.

Bitcoin addresses rely on a two-key encryption system to keep transactions secure: one public and one private. The public key is shared openly so anybody can send money to that address. But once the sender has encrypted their payment with the recipient’s public key, only the recipient’s private key can decrypt and gain access to that money.

That’s why private keys are meant to be closely held secrets, stored in a secure place. As of January, $140 billion in bitcoin – around 20% of existing bitcoin – were held in wallets where people had forgotten or lost their private keys.

In Darkside’s case, the FBI managed to gain access to its public key, and after getting a seizure warrant from a federal court, the agency used the key to access Darkside’s address and swipe 63.7 bitcoin, or around $2.3 million.

The FBI didn’t say how it had managed to obtain the key, but said it sent a warning to other potential ransomware hackers.

“Ransom payments are the fuel that propels the digital extortion engine, and today’s announcement demonstrates that the United States will use all available tools to make these attacks more costly and less profitable for criminal enterprises,” Monaco said in the release.

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The FBI reported nearly 4.7 million background checks for gun purchases in March, revealing a record number of firearms sales in the US

Walmart guns
  • Background checks for guns hit a record in March 2021, the FBI reported.
  • Close to 4.7 million background checks were conducted, a 77% increase compared to March 2019.
  • Experts told CNN, fear during the pandemic and social unrest is fueling a rise in gun ownership.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations reported close to 4.7 million background checks for new gun purchases in March, the largest on record since the FBI began tracking them 20 years ago, revealing a record number of firearms sales in the US.

The figure is a 77% increase compared to March 2019. The agency conducted over a million more background checks in March 2021 compared to March 2020, which also saw a record number of gun sales.

The New York Times previously reported in March 2020, a record number of Americans were buying guns due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“We attribute it mainly to the virus scare,” Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun store in North Carolina and saw a record number of sales at the time told the Times.

Hyatt told The Times he’s seen similar influxes of people buying guns in the past.

“People have a little lack of confidence that if something big and bad happens, that 911 might not work. We saw it with Katrina,” Hyatt said. “People haven’t forgotten that a disaster happened, and the government didn’t come.”

Months with the highest number of FBI background checks like March, June, July, and December show months where there was political or social unrest.

CNN reported there’s a record number of first-time gun buyers, like Robin Armstrong who told the outlet the current instability in the country made her want to buy firearms.

“We’ve also seen, in times of civil unrest, that we see people go out and say that they need to protect themselves,” Jack McDevitt, a criminology professor and the director of the Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University told CNN. “So they’re going to buy guns to protect themselves.”

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A Venezuelan ring is accused of stealing over $800,000 worth of stimulus checks during the pandemic

US dollars
  • The Miami Herald reported a Venezuelan ring is accused of stealing over $800,000 in stimulus checks.
  • The FBI has been investigating the ring since January, which was also charged with identity theft.
  • Biden has not yet said if more stimulus checks are on the way amidst calls from Democrats urging him to do so.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Since the start of the pandemic, the government has distributed three rounds of stimulus checks to Americans in order to help prompt economic and financial recovery. But a ring of Venezuelans might have prevented hundreds of people from receiving those checks.

The Miami Herald reported on Wednesday that Venezuelans living in South Florida and Mexico have stolen over $800,000 in stimulus checks since the start of the pandemic, according to federal authorities. The feds have so far charged Jesus Felipe Linares Andrade for conspiring to steal government money, along with identity theft, and prosecutors in South Florida said Linares could have as many as four other “co-conspirators.”

Linares was arrested in May and pleaded not guilty after being caught in an undercover FBI operation in which he, and his conspirators, stole checks in South Florida and Mexico and created fake IDs to correspond with the names of actual US taxpayers.

According to the Herald, an FBI informant met with one of the conspirators in January to discuss cashing about 30 stimulus checks totaling to $36,000. Then, in April, Linares met with two FBI informants to make arrangements to pick up a package with 416 more stimulus checks worth about $249,000.

The meetings continued through April and eventually totaled to over $800,000 in stolen stimulus payments.

“During the meeting [in April], Linares placed an envelope in the vehicle containing over $150,000 in stolen U.S. Treasury checks and over 30 identification documents,” the affidavit wrote. “The identification documents consisted of copies of driver’s licenses, including Florida driver’s licenses. Some of the names on the driver’s license matched the names on the checks.”

Linares is being held without bond.

Although President Joe Biden has not yet announced whether more stimulus checks are en route, studies have shown that the benefits of stimulus checks are significant, with two more checks having the ability to lift an additional 12 million Americans out of poverty.

And a growing number of Democrats are pushing for recurring stimulus payments to sustain economic recovery from the pandemic.

“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis,” House Democrats wrote in a letter. “They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. They should not be at the mercy of constantly shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

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Gun and ammunition sales are booming as firearm background checks surge, and the CEO of Vista Outdoor says millennials and women are leading the charge

GettyImages 1226350705
  • Gun and ammunition sales are skyrocketing as the US begins to reopen and pandemic restrictions ease.
  • In March, the FBI received more firearm background checks than any other month on record.
  • Vista Outdoor’s CEO said younger generations are helping drive a spike in ammunition sales.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Gun and ammunition sales are surging as the country begins to reopen from the pandemic.

In 2020, the FBI processed a record 39.7 million firearm background checks – the most of any year since the agency started recording the data. This year, data indicates there could be another record set, with firearm background checks up over 30% from this time last year.

Vista Outdoor, a company that manufactures ammunition and outdoor sports and recreation equipment, told Fox Business that it has seen heightened interest in firearms and ammunition in recent months.

While the pandemic drove people outdoors, and even as restrictions on indoor gatherings are easing, people continue to express interest in outdoor activities like hunting. In March, the FBI received about 4.7 million firearm background checks – more than ever recorded in a single month.

New demographics have begun to express interest in firearms, Vista Outdoor CEO, Chris Metz, said. Vista Outdoor added 8 million new people to its hunting and shooting categories in 2021 – most of which have been younger generations, as well as women and people of color.

Meltz attributes the interest to a shift toward outdoor activities, especially hunting, in the wake of the pandemic.

“We haven’t seen these trends before. More millennials, more younger-generation people, more people of color, women are embracing hunter and field to table movements, filling their freezers with fresh meat, embracing safety and self-resiliency,” Metz told Fox Business. “It has created this structural shift in who is entering the market and using the product, which is really exciting for us.”

Earlier this month, Vista Outdoor reported that sales increased 40 percent in the company’s fourth quarter ending March 31 compared to the same quarter last year.

Overall, the pandemic seems to have given new life to recreational hunting. The Washington Post reported earlier in the year that states known for wildlife hunting, including Michigan and Nevada, saw a 67% and 30% hike, respectively, in registrations for new hunting licenses in 2020 as compared to 2019. Of the new hunters, women and younger generations make up the fastest growing groups, the publication reported.

Hunting licenses and rifles are not the only types of firearms seeing an uptick in interest. In the past four months, nearly 16 million people have initiated firearm background checks.

Firearm background checks are not required to receive a hunting license, but they are required for any gun purchase. The background checks are not a direct representation of the number of guns sold. The data includes checks related to concealed carry permits and suppressor sales, in addition to gun sales. However, they are considered a key indicator of sales in the US, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

In January alone, the number of people looking to become first time gun owners more than doubled from the previous January, according to the FBI data.

Historically, gun sales rise during presidential election years because of fears related to possible new gun regulations. Gun sales skyrocketed after President Obama’s election in 2008.

Experts told Insider’s Kate Taylor that the rise in gun sales in 2020 was driven by three major events: the coronavirus pandemic, protests following the death of George Floyd, and the presidential election.

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Deputy campaign manager for former Sen. Martha McSally stole over $115,000 from her campaign

Re. Martha McSally
Re. Martha McSally

  • A former deputy campaign manager stole over $115,000 from former Sen. Martha McSally’s campaign.
  • Anthony Barry, who worked on McSally’s 2018 campaign, is facing up to five years in prison.
  • McSally lost her 2018 senate bid to now-Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in a close race.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The former deputy campaign manager to former Sen. Martha McSally pleaded guilty to stealing campaign funds, the Justice Department announced on Friday.

Anthony Barry stole more than $115,000 from McSally’s campaign in 2018 and 2019, the department said. He’s facing up to five years in prison with a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 6.

Barry, who served as a deputy campaign manager and consultant for McSally, was accused of using his position to “fraudulently” directing the campaign to give him additional payments beyond his salary.

McSally lost her 2018 Senate bid to now-Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in a close race. She was appointed to fill the seat of the late Sen. John McCain in December 2018 and ran for re-election in 2020 but lost to now-Sen. Mark Kelly.

Dylan Lefler, McSally’s campaign manager during her 2020 senate bid, told the Arizona Republic that the campaign learned that Barry was taking money without authorization two years ago, ended his contract, and contacted authorities.

“Martha McSally appreciates the FBI’s efforts to resolve this case,” Lefler said.

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News outlets including the Washington Post have retracted or amended reports claiming the FBI warned Giuliani he was the target of a Russian influence operation

Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference held by Donald Trump in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020.

  • News outlets including the Washington Post retracted a claim about Rudy Giuliani.
  • Outlets retracted a claim that the FBI warned Giuliani he was being used to spread Russian disinformation.
  • Insider has amended its reporting in the light of the retraction.
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The Washington Post and other news outlets have retracted a claim that the FBI warned Rudy Giuliani that he was likely being targetted as part of a Russian disinformation campaign in 2019.

In an editor’s note the Post on Saturday said it was retracting a claim in a report Thursday that the FBI had warned both Giuliani and right-wing news network OANN about Russian efforts to use them to spread falsehoods.

It read: “Correction: An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.”

Insider has amended its report on the claim in light of the retraction in the Post.

The New York Times and NBC News have withdrawn similar claims.

“An earlier version of this article misstated whether Rudolph W. Giuliani received a formal warning from the F.B.I. about Russian disinformation. Mr. Giuliani did not receive such a so-called defensive briefing,” reads the correction in the Times.

The reports all focussed on FBI raids on Giuliani’s office and apartment in Manhattan last week, in which agents seized computers and other devices belonging to Giuliani.

Investigators are reportedly probing whether Giuliani was acting on behalf of Ukrainian officials during his search for damaging information about Joe Biden, then Democratic presidential nominee, and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine in 2019.

The Times reported that Giuliani’s communications with the Trump administration over the firing of the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, in May 2019 were being scrutinised the federal agents.

Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.

“I’ve never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government,” Giuliani said in an interview on Fox News on Thursday in the wake of the raids.

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Former members of Trump’s inner circle are living in fear after Rudy Giuliani raid, report says

rudy giuliani oan oann
President Donald Trump’s lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani wipes sweat away after an interview with One America News Network’s Chanel Rion outside the White House West Wing in Washington, DC, on July 1, 2020.

  • The Rudy Giuliani raid has Trump allies feeling uneasy about what could come next, CNN reported.
  • A former Trump advisor said the raid is proof that officials are willing to pursue his inner circle.
  • Several Trump allies also said it “wouldn’t shock” them if Giuliani turned on the former president.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trump allies are growing increasingly concerned about the future after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s office and apartment were raided by federal agents this week, according to CNN.

On Wednesday, Giuliani, who acted as Trump’s former attorney, was the target of two raids in which investigators seized several of his electronic devices as well as a computer belonging to his personal assistant. The searches were in connection to a criminal probe into Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, The New York Times reported.

Trump’s allies and former members of his inner circle are now reportedly becoming increasingly worried about further raids and upcoming FBI investigations.

Read more: Trumpworld shuns Rudy: The inside story of Giuliani’s descent from ‘America’s mayor’ to presidential lawyer and now an FBI target

“This was a show of force that sent a strong message to a lot of people in Trump’s world that other things may be coming down the pipeline,” an advisor to the former president, who wished to stay anonymous, told CNN.

The advisor also described the Giuliani raid as “overkill” and said the raid was a worrying sign that investigators were more willing to pursue investigations than previously thought.

“I can’t for the life of me think why you would need to send seven FBI agents to go and collect a cellphone and laptop,” the advisor said.

Two other people close to Trump echoed these sentiments, according to CNN, but declined to be quoted.

The former New York City mayor has not been charged and denied any wrongdoing. His attorney said in a statement this week that it was a “corrupt double standard” that feds didn’t execute a search warrant against Hunter Biden as well.

“Republicans who are prominent supporters and defenders of President Trump … are subjected to false charges and procedures used in the past, if at all, in cases involving terrorists and organized criminals,” the statement said.

Some people, including ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, have since come out to predict that Giuliani will turn against Trump if prosecutors tightened the screws on him.

Another person who is close to the former president said that this outcome “wouldn’t shock” them at all.

“Even the most loyal people have their breaking point,” the person said, according to CNN. “I think we’ve seen some more surprising instances of things like that happening, especially with Michael Cohen.”

Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence under house arrest after pleading guilty to multiple counts of campaign finance violations and tax evasion. He also pled guilty to lying to Congress as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

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The FBI reportedly warned Giuliani in 2019 that Russia was using him as a tool to spread disinformation before the election

AP Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.

  • The FBI warned Rudy Giuliani in late 2019 that the Russian government was using him to spread disinformation about the Bidens, WaPo reported.
  • Giuliani ignored the warnings and continued his quest to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
  • He’s now the target of a federal criminal investigation into whether he violated lobbying laws.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The FBI warned former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in late 2019 that the Russian government was using him to spread disinformation about the Biden family ahead of the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported.

Giuliani was a fixture on conservative airwaves in the months leading up to the election, where he repeatedly amplified bogus conspiracy theories accusing then candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, of having corrupt ties to Ukraine. He also pushed the lie that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election, a talking point that can be traced back to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

The former mayor serves as former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, and his actions were so alarming to US officials that they warned the White House and Trump after Giuliani traveled to Kiev in December 2019 that Russia was using him to funnel disinformation to US audiences before the 2020 election.

Four former officials familiar with the matter told The Post the warnings were based on several sources, including intercepted communications. The intercepts are said to have shown that Giuliani communicated with multiple people who had ties to Russian intelligence during the Ukraine trip.

He specifically made the trip as part of his effort to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden related to his work for the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings. One of the people he met with was the Ukrainian politician Andriy Derkach. The US government has since sanctioned Derkach and described him as an “active Russian agent.”

The Post reported that the intercepted communications raised red flags with US officials who worried that Russian officials were using Giuliani as a conduit to feed disinformation to Trump. After the White House was warned about the possibility, the report said, the national security advisor Robert O’Brien told the president to approach any information Giuliani gave him with caution.

Trump shrugged off the warnings, according to The Post. On Wednesday, the FBI raided Giuliani’s apartment and office in Manhattan and seized his electronic devices, as well as a computer belonging to his personal assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte. Zafonte was served with a grand jury subpoena, and The New York Times reported that the feds also raided the Washington, DC, home of one of Giuliani’s associates and a fellow attorney, Victoria Toensing.

The raids mark an aggressive new phase in a long-running criminal investigation into whether Giuliani broke foreign lobbying laws through his dealings with Ukraine. The Times later reported that at least one of the search warrants sought evidence about the abrupt firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the US’s former ambassador to Ukraine.

Specifically, prosecutors are said to be examining whether Giuliani was working on behalf of the Ukrainian prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, while pushing for Yovanovitch’s dismissal.

Yovannovitch appeared for a nine-hour, closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill related to the first impeachment inquiry into Trump. In her opening statement, she said that then-Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told her she “had done nothing wrong” but that there was a “concerted campaign’ to remove her, and that the department had been “under pressure from the President to remove [her] since Summer of 2018.”

Giuliani and his lawyer have denied any wrongdoing, and his attorney described the FBI’s raids as “legal thuggery.” The former New York mayor also a statement saying he was targeted because of a “corrupt double standard” and alleging that investigators were ignoring purported illicit activities on the part of Hunter Biden.

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