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Fri Apr 30, 2021, 08:11 PM

🧵 I just explained on @wolfblitzer why the FBI giving a warning to Giuliani that he was being target [View all]


Asha Rangappa
THREAD. I just explained on @wolfblitzer why the FBI giving a warning to Giuliani that he was being targeted by foreign intelligence is significant. But I want to explain why a FARA violation generally, especially in this context, is especially serious

2. People tend to poo-poo FARA because they think it's just "lobbying" -- and for better or worse, we just expect lobbying to be a part of our process. But when a foreign country directly targets *elected officials*, it's more than "lobbying," it's a distortion of our democracy

Asha Rangappa
3. When foreign governments try to coopt members of Congress, it's bad, because they are publicly claiming to be furthering U.S. interests, when they are actually furthering a foreign country's. Even then though, the effect may be diluted: It takes a lot of MOCs to affect policy

4. But when you are talking about someone who has the ear of the *President*, the effect is direct. The President has almost unfettered discretion in the area of foreign affairs. He can unilaterally take powerful and symbolic actions, like recognizing a foreign government

Asha Rangappa
5. Or, as we have seen, take military action or withdraw troops where the U.S. has a stake. In other words, it is paramount, for our relationship with the rest of the world, that the President, most of all, always use foreign policy to further the interests of the U.S.

6. The issue at stake here is that if Giuliani was taking maskings and requests from Russian-backed Ukrainian oligarchs to fire a *U.S. Ambassador* -- who was officially implementing U.S. foreign policy adverse to Russia -- to get personal political gain

Asha Rangappa
7. then this means that there were foreign, and adverse, interests calling the shots in what should be a completely domestic decision -- all unbeknownst to the American people (and to significant personal detriment of our own country's representative)

8. That is bad, no matter how you slice it. And it's something the FBI should be investigating, and should punish, even if that is the "only" charge they are investigating. Whether Trump knew we don't know, but he has an Art. II defense, bc these decisions are totally up to him!

Asha Rangappa
9. It's true that FARA violations have traditionally not been enforced aggressively. That's for two reasons. One is that the bar is high: If you just register, you won't be prosecuted. The other is that bc it overlaps with CI issues, DOJ may not want to reveal what it knows

10. But for what it's worth, DOJ beefed up its FARA enforcement division in 2019, presumably because the threat posed by foreign influence and foreign intelligence directly to our elected officials was too great. And that was under AG Bill Barr. END

Asha Rangappa
P.S. People warned by the FBI they were being targeted by foreign interests: Carter Page (2013), Trump campaign (2016), Ron Johnson (2020). People with FARA violations: Manafort (Ukraine), Flynn (Turkey). Foreign intel targets ppl they believe are 1) vulnerable and 2) receptive

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Reply 🧵 I just explained on @wolfblitzer why the FBI giving a warning to Giuliani that he was being target [View all]
soothsayer Apr 2021 OP
Skittles Apr 2021 #1
malaise Apr 2021 #4
Enter stage left Apr 2021 #2
soothsayer Apr 2021 #3