Rudy Giuliani, one of the most vocal and visible defenders of Donald Trump and a fixture on conservative news shows, has suddenly dropped out of sight much like former National Security adviser Michael Flynn. The development suggests he may have cut a deal with Russiagate investigators to tell what he knows about Trump’s role in the scandal.
Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, was the first casualty of the Trump campaign’s alleged dalliance with Russia during the election. His resignation in February raised new questions about possible collaboration with the Kremlin’s effort to destabilize and influence the 2016 election.
Flynn shocked Washington three months later when he asked for immunity from prosecution to tell his story about Russia and the Trump campaign. Those overtures were rejected by Congressional committees.
The same month, however, the U.S. Justice Department hired Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel to investigate allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
No long afterward, Flynn and his outspoken lawyer Robert Kelner dropped out of the spotlight, which suggests he’s cooperating with the special counsel.
“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it,” Kelner said at the time.
Mueller has since hired a crack team of investigators to examine Trump’s business and campaign connections to the Kremlin.
One of the primary ways investigators work is to make deals with lower-level cronies to tell what they know about higher-ups. In exchange, they are often allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges or receive immunity from prosecution.
Giuliani remained one of Trump’s vocal Fox News proponents, until he suddenly dropped out of sight about the same time as Flynn.
Money & Power reported, May 2, that Giuliani had been accused by federal prosecutors of trying to short circuit the prosecution of a notorious Turkish money launderer by using back channels to Trump administration.
The case involves Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who has close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Zarrab has been accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. He allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. banks on behalf of Iran to help the rogue nation avoid U.S. financial sanctions, according to court papers on file in U.S.District Court in Manhattan.
Zarrab’s lawyers hired Giuliani and Michael Mukasey, attorney general under President George W. Bush, to attempt to influence with the Trump administration, according to Bloomberg.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman called Giuliani and Mukasey “surprisingly disingenuous” for making allegedly misleading statements in court about Zarrab’s activities.
Flynn revealed in March that he was also being paid by the Turkish government to influence the Trump administration, without reporting the connection on government disclosure forms.
U.S. Intelligence agencies concluded “with a high degree of certainty” last September that Russia was behind the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hilary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the election.
Other highly visible Trump surrogates, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign advisor Roger Stone have also fallen under the radar.
While their silence is not conclusive proof they are cooperating with investigators, cooperating witnesses are ordered without fail not to make any further statements about the case.
If Trump was involved in colluding with the Russians, only those closest to him during the campaign would have the details.
In what many are calling the scandal’s smoking gun, The New York Times reported earlier this week that Donald Trump Jr., Manafort and Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on the pretext that she had some dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Don Jr. told two different stories about the substance of the meeting and lied both times. Finally, he released an email string that revealed the true nature of the sit-down.
Today (July 14), NBC News reported that a former Russian counter-intelligence officer was also in the room during the meeting. Don Jr. failed to disclose his presence.
Right wing news outlets and propaganda sites have repeatedly criticized other media outlets of reporting on the story “without any evidence.”
But even a first-year law student knows that prosecutors do not release evidence until they are ready to announce an indictment.
It’s unknown at this time what information Mueller has collected, but the silence is deafening.