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Tag: ukraine

FBI Searches Rudy Giuliani’s Home, Office As Inquiry into Ukraine Accelerates

Rudy Giuliani

By Steve Neavling

FBI agents on Wednesday executed a search warrant at the New York City apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani, seizing cellphones and computers. 

The former New York City mayor who became President Trump’s personal attorney has been under investigation for his dealings in Ukraine, where Giuliani had sought damaging information about President Biden.

Giuliani’s attorney Robert J. Costello told The New York Times that the searchers amounted to “legal thuggery” and that his client offered to answer prosecutors’ questions.

In a statement, Giuliani said the search warrants were a “corrupt double standard” by the Justice Department, which he insisted had ignored “blatant crimes” by Democrats. 

One of the warrants sought communications between Giuliani and several Ukrainian officials and two former prosecutors. 

The FBI also search the home of Victoria Toensing, another lawyer who dealt with Ukrainians in the quest for damaging information on Biden and his son. 

FBI Sought Interview with Whistleblower Who Help Initiate Impeachment Inquiry

Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI requested an interview with the whistleblower who helped initiate the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and Ukraine.

An agent in the Washington Field Office sought the interview last month by reaching out to the CIA analyst’s attorney, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo News, the Associated Press and The New York Times.

It wasn’t clear why the FBI wanted to interview the whistleblower, and the interview never happened.

One of the attorneys for the whistleblower declined media interviews, as did the FBI.

Yahoo News reports that top FBI officials were divided on whether to get involved. But it wouldn’t be unusual for the bureau to investigate allegations of wrongdoing within the federal government.

An interview could impact the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

FBI Launches Probe of Death Threats Targeting CIA Whistleblower

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating death threats leveled against the CIA whistleblower whose complaint prompted the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

Since the whistleblower’s identify is still anonymous, the threats were sent to the legal team representing the CIA official, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told the New York Daily News.

Several of the death threats mentioned executing and shooting the CIA informant.

One email sent to the legal team says, “The whistleblower should be shot.”

Another person wrote, “In Putin’s country, they would execute this person.”

According to the source, the FBI is taking the threats “incredibly seriously.”

President Trump has turned up the hateful rhetoric directed at the whistleblower, calling him a “partisan operative,” “spy,” and “never Trumper.”

“Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all,” Trump tweeted last month.

FBI: Army Soldier Strategized Attacking Major News Network, Beto O’Rourke

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Army soldier was arrested on allegations of planning to attack a major American news network, providing online instructions on building a bomb and strategizing an attack on Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The 24-year-old soldier, Jarret William Smith, also expressed interest in joining a violent far-right paramilitary group in Ukraine and killing members of Antifa, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Smith, who was assigned to the First Infantry Division in Fort Riley, Kan., has been charged with distributing information related to explosives and weapons of mass destruction.

Smith faces up to 24 years in prison.

Before joining the Army, Smith expressed interest in fighting in the Ukraine with a far-right group, according charging documents.

“No former military experience, but if I cannot find a slot in Ulaaine [SIC] by October I’ll be going into the Akmy [SIC],” Smith is accused of writing on Facebook chat. “To fight is what I want to do. I’m willing to listen, learn, and train. But to work on Firerums [SIC] is fine by me too.”

After joining the Army, Smith returned to Facebook chat to say he “got knowledge of IEDs for days.”

“We can make cell phone IEDs in the style of the Afghans. I can teach you that.”

FBI Tracks down a 19th Century Painting Stolen by the Nazis During WWII

“Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina,” via U.S. Attorney’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI tracked down an Ivan the Terrible painting that was stolen by the Nazis during World War II and returned the massive artwork to the Embassy of Ukraine.

The 19th century oil painting, titled “Secret Departure of Ivan the Terrible Before the Oprichina,” was looted from the Dnepropetrovsk Art Museum in Nazi-occupied Ukraine in 1941. More than 75 years later, the FBI’s Art Crime Team was tipped off that the Mikhail N. Panin painting was being prepared for auction.

The 64-square-foot painting was preserved and “admired” for decades in the Connecticut home of Gabby and David Tracy, who had no idea the artwork had been stolen, according to the FBI. In 1987, the couple came into possession of the painting when they bought the home in which artwork had been hung.

“The FBI is proud to work with our partners to mark this important art repatriation and return the painting to the Ukrainian Embassy. The FBI works to return stolen art and other property to preserve the history and culture of countries around the world,” Timothy M. Dunham, special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, said in a news release. “Returning art to the proper owners is important and meaningful work made possible by our talented special agents and analysts.”

Mueller Refers Lobbyists’ Work with Ukrainian Governments to Federal Prosecutors in N.Y.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The deeper special counsel Robert Mueller looks, the uglier his findings get.

The former FBI director who is leading the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election has led him to something unrelated – lobbyists and consultants working for the Ukrainian government.

This week, Pauk Manafort is on trial on numerous charges of tax evasion and bank fraud related to millions of dollars he made working with Ukrainian officials.  

CNN is now reporting that Mueller has turned over new cases involving the Ukrainian government to federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. 

Prosecutors are investigating whether U.S. lobbyists failed to register their work supporting the Ukrainian government. Those lobbyists include Democrat Tony Podesta, ex-Minnesota GOP Rep. Vin Weber and former President Obama’s White House counsel Greg Craig.

No charges have been filed yet, and it’s unclear how far along prosecutors are in the investigation.

Muller Investigating Ukrainian Oligarch’s $150,000 Donation to Trump Foundation

Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 donation that a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch made to the Trump Foundation.

Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk allegedly donated the money in exchange for Trump delivering a 20-minute speech via video to a conference in Kiev, the New York Times reports

Trump was one of several Republican candidates for president at the time.

The speech was set up in August 2015 by Doug Schoen, a political consultant who works for Pinchuk, a steel magnate.

According to the Times, Schoen personally contact Trump to deliver the speech but did not broach the subject of a payment. But Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is believed to have contacted Schoen a day after the speech to request a $150,000 payment in exchange for the speech.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel on Tuesday, seizing e-mail, tax records and communications between his clients.

Mueller is investigating foreign money that Trump’s campaign accepted and whether any of it benefits his personal finances.

Manafort Under Fire for Undisclosed Lobbying for Pro-Russian Party in Ukraine

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly paid at least $2.2 million to two Washington lobbying firms in 2012 with the help of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports

Manafort’s actions, which effectively obscured the party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy, are coming to light as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of attorneys are investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Federal law makes it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison for lobbyists to fail to declare their representation of foreign leaders or their political parties.

The AP wrote:

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych’s party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych’s government.

That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival.

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