The FBI warned Rudolph W. Giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically ahead of last year’s election, according to people familiar with the matter. The warning was part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. Despite the alert, Giuliani went forward in December 2019 with a planned trip to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, where he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker whom the U.S. government later labeled “an active Russian agent” and sanctioned on grounds he was running an “influence campaign” against Biden. That operation, officials said, involved Ukrainian officials and political consultants who the U.S. intelligence community has since concluded were acting as Russian proxies not only to smear Biden and derail his candidacy but also to curtail U.S. support for Ukraine.
By the time federal investigators searched the Manhattan home of Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday, they had amassed a trove of evidence from his associates in Ukraine, focusing most intently on Giuliani’s ties to Ukrainian oligarchs, three witnesses in the case told TIME. The witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described lengthy interviews with investigators in Europe, Manhattan and Washington, starting in the fall of 2019 and continuing through February. What interested investigators most of all was the relationship between Giuliani and the Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash, who is wanted in the U.S. on corruption charges, this witness says. “The main things that interested them was: How would you assess, how would you describe, what do you know about his communication with Ukrainian oligarchs,” says this witness, who spoke repeatedly to investigators over the course of more than a year. “Firtash was of course their main focus, without a doubt.” Firtash’s goal was to avoid extradition to Chicago, where he faces charges related to an alleged scheme to bribe officials in India.
The ex-fixer for Donald Trump said he personally warned Giuliani that he would eventually end up on the short end of the stick because Trump “doesn’t care about anyone or anything.” “He’s been involved in some very, very shady stuff and now it’s all gonna come out,” Cohen said on CNN. Sounding like he’s regained some of his New York swagger after a humiliating stint in prison, Cohen explosively predicted that the former mayor will eventually flip on his ex-boss and cooperate with the feds. “Do I think Rudy will give up Donald in a heartbeat? Absolutely,” said Cohen. As a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Giuliani knows better than anyone that he is facing the legal equivalent of a ton of bricks, Cohen said. “He knows exactly what’s coming down the road and he knows how to avoid it,” Cohen said. “He’s going to start talking:1,2,3.″ Cohen suggested that the raids may help the feds dig up even more damaging lines of investigation, possibly involving the former president, his relatives or other cronies in the “garbage can orbit of Donald Trump.” “Rudy’s an idiot, he drinks too much and he acts in an erratic manner,” Cohen said.
Biden offered a sturdy reassertion of American exceptionalism and leadership, but warned that autocracies like China are anticipating our collapse. Joe Biden’s speech to Congress was the first time in four years that people who focus on foreign policy and national security have had to pay attention to a presidential address. There was actually a recognizable foreign policy in it, a statement of principles about democracy and America’s role as a global leader, from a functioning White House that seems to care about engagement with the rest of the world. The past four years were good days for the world’s dictators and other miscreants, and Biden on Wednesday night began the job of making a case for restoring America’s alliances, of defending American ideals, and of warning off the various wolves that have circled the democratic camp while the American lanterns were dimmed. While Biden is concerned about China,he is openly angry about Russia and what Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin was allowed to get away with for the past four years.
The first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency have improved the global image of the United States almost everywhere surveyed by a new poll. But despite a trade war, Uighur genocide declarations, and “Kung Flu” rhetoric, China remains the only country where the US’s standing was significantly better under Donald Trump. Across 14 countries surveyed, favourable views about the US increased by an average of 9 per cent in the three months since Mr Biden was inaugurated on 20 January. “President Joe Biden inherited a tarnished American image abroad when he took office on 20 January following four years of President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policies and the 6 January Capitol riot that called into question the status of the world’s oldest continuous democracy,” wrote Eli Yokley for pollsters Morning Consult. “Nearly 100 days later as the United States and the world meets a symbolic milestone of Biden’s presidency, the Oval Office’s current occupant is overseeing a sizeable improvement to the American brand across many allied countries.”
A white woman harassed four black soldiers Monday afternoon at a Virginia IHOP and called them the N-word twice, one soldier said. The unidentified woman initially offered to help pay for the group’s meal at the restaurant near Fort Belvoir in the Washington, D.C.,suburbs, soldier Joe Jeffers Jr. said in a Facebook video. Jeffers said she left $6 on the table and walked away. But minutes later, the woman stormed back to the table demanding the money back, according to Jeffers. After a disagreement over how much money the woman left behind, Jeffers quoted her as saying, “Y’all are some lying, c—s–king, [N-word]s who don’t know what the f— they’re talking about.” She then followed that with, “I hate [N-word]s in this town,” according to Jeffers. At that point, Jeffers and another soldier began filming the interaction. The other three soldiers have not been identified, but Jeffers shared multiple videos on his TikTok page. “You guys are a bunch of s—bags,” she told the group in one video. Jeffers asked the woman to leave. Instead, she blocked his exit from the restaurant booth, so he climbed behind her to leave.