US spies say the Hunter Biden email controversy shows how 'exploitable' and 'grotesquely vulnerable' Trump and Giuliani are to Russian intelligence businessinsider.com/spies-hunter-b… via @businessinsider
Federal authorities are currently investigating whether purported emails in the story featuring communications between Hunter Biden and a Burisma Holdings executive were part of a foreign influence operation.
Giuliani's access to Trump, the two men's personality traits, their eagerness to obtain dirt on the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and unwillingness to acknowledge Russian interference makes them a goldmine for foreign intelligence services, ex-spies said.
They are "grotesquely vulnerable, exploitable targets" and "any foreign intelligence service would be derelict if they did not try to exploit this," said a former CIA covert operative.
Steve Hall, the CIA's former chief of Russia operations, also said Trump and Giuliani's tendency to traffic in conspiracies and the rise of misinformation in right-wing media mean "we're doing a lot of [Russia's] work for them."
Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, allege that Biden inappropriately leveraged his role as vice president to shut down a criminal investigation into the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings to protect Hunter, who was serving on Burisma's board at the time.
As Business Insider has previously reported, there is no evidence that these claims hold merit, and they've been debunked by intelligence assessments, media reports, congressional investigations, and witness testimony.
The Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory was turbocharged this week, after The New York Post published a widely discredited story purporting to show "smoking-gun" emails between Hunter Biden and a senior Burisma executive about setting up a meeting with then VP Joe Biden in 2015.
The story was written by a former producer for the Fox News show "Hannity," and Giuliani gave the conservative tabloid the emails featured in the story.
To former intelligence operatives, Giuliani's involvement in the Post's story and Trump's willingness to seize on it showed just how susceptible they are to being duped by hostile intelligence services.
"This is the most recent edition of what we've seen over four years now with the Trump administration," Steve Hall, the former chief of Russia operations at the CIA, told Business Insider.
Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative who specialized in turning Russian spies, told Business Insider that in addition to Giuliani's access to Trump, his motivations also make him an attractive target for Russian intelligence.
"No matter what the motivation is, a foreign intelligence service can usually exploit it," Carle said. "In this case, it's very straightforward: Giuliani is hunting for information that he thinks will help Trump and harm Biden."
"And then you look at the person's psychological makeup. Are they gullible? Can they be duped? Are they motivated to take chances? In Giuliani's case, the answer to all those questions is a glaring 'yes.'"
Giuliani, Carle added, has "been stumbling around in Ukraine, which is Russian turf from an intelligence perspective. In every way, Trump and Giuliani are grotesquely vulnerable, exploitable targets for Russian intelligence."
Indeed, US intelligence agencies cautioned the White House last year that Russian operatives were using Giuliani to funnel disinformation to Trump.
The warning came after intercepted communications showed that Giuliani interacted with multiple people who had ties to Russian intelligence when he traveled to Ukraine in December to look for dirt on the Bidens.
Among the people Giuliani met with was a Ukrainian national named Andrii Derkach, a man who has since been sanctioned by the Treasury Department for acting as a Russian agent and spreading disinformation about the Bidens and the 2020 election.
In January, hackers associated with Russia's military intelligence agency successfully breached Burisma's servers, The New York Times reported.
And in September, US intelligence analysts learned the Russians were planning to dump hacked and forged Burisma emails as part of an "October surprise" targeting Biden before the election.
This article lays out so many hinky Giuliani connections and shady moves, a Twitter thread cannot do it justice. Get to reading, kids :)
But this is practically a confession: When The Daily Beast asked Giuliani if he was concerned the emails may have come from Russia's hack of Burisma, he replied that it "wouldn't matter" and asked "what's the difference?"

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More from @LauraWalkerKC

16 Oct
Judge suggests White House counsel is overriding Trump's position on Russia docs - confused? @kpolantz sorts it out: cnn.com/2020/10/16/pol…
A federal judge -- sensing the White House may be overriding the orders of President Donald Trump as he flails against the Russia investigation -- has given the Justice Department five days to explain Trump's true wishes on declassifying all Mueller investigation documents.
Trump has said in tweets and other statements that he's declassified all records relating to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails.
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16 Oct
Phillip Halpern: I won’t work in Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department any longer sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commen…
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Like many of my colleagues, I fervently hoped that Attorney General William Barr’s preemptive misrepresentation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was an honest mistake or a solitary misstep — rather than a deliberate attempt to conceal potential presidential misconduct.
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16 Oct
Great cases of "herd immunity"

Bubonic Plague a/k/a The Black Death
The Black Death was an epidemic of bubonic plague, a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that circulates among wild rodents where they live in great numbers and density.
Originating in China, the disease spread west along the trade routes across Europe and arrived on the British Isles from the English province of Gascony.

Oh, a "CHI-nahh plague". So how did it go?
Read 17 tweets
26 Sep
Federal Judge Removes Trump's Acting Director of Bureau of Land Management. Trump's game of installing "Acting" heads of agencies to bypass Senate confirmation is up. courthousenews.com/federal-judge-…
A Montana federal judge ruled Friday that Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management William Perry Pendley has been unlawfully serving in the position for over a year.
Trump has faced criticism for allowing a number of ranking administration officials to carry out official duties in an acting capacity only, and therefore without receiving any kind of official confirmation from the Senate.
Read 18 tweets
25 Sep
Some 3,500 U.S. companies sue over Trump-imposed Chinese tariffs reut.rs/3095YER
About 3,500 U.S. companies, including Tesla Inc, Ford Motor Co, Target Corp, Walgreen Co and Home Depot have sued the Trump administration in the last two weeks over the imposition of tariffs on more than $300 billion in Chinese-made goods.
The suits, filed in the U.S. Court of International Trade, name U.S. Trade Rep Lighthizer and the Customs and Border Protection agency and challenge what they call the unlawful escalation of the U.S. trade war with China through the imposition of a 3rd and 4th round of tariffs.
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25 Sep
Judge rejects DOJ attempt to scrap McCabe lawsuit, orders discovery politi.co/3cxebro via @politico
A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Justice Department's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe alleging that he was fired in 2018 as an act of political retribution at the behest of President Donald Trump.
Judge Randy Moss ruled McCabe is entitled to discovery in his effort to prove that his removal by then-Attorney General Sessions was prompted by Trump's repeated and public desire to damage him, meaning the Trump administration's private discussions could enter the public record.
Read 13 tweets

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