It must've seemed like a good idea at the time. Rudy Giuliani and his allies apparently thought they could package an anti-Biden smear, hand it to a media ally, and watch as the closing weeks of the 2020 presidential race focused on their "October Surprise." It'd fundamentally change the trajectory of the election and put Donald Trump in a position to hold onto power.
It's not quite working out that way.
As we've discussed, Giuliani and Steve Bannon delivered an anti-Biden smear to the New York Post, and the conservative tabloid ran its literally unbelievable story last week. The article was filled with convoluted details involving a Ukrainian gas company, Hunter Biden, his alleged laptop, some of his alleged emails, and an unnamed shop owner in Delaware. Of course, the underlying premise of the allegations was discredited quite a while ago, which is why most major news organizations had the good sense to steer clear of the Post's reporting.
As scrutiny of the scheme intensified, we learned that many inside the tabloid disagreed with the decision to publish the anti-Biden article. But more importantly, they're not the only ones with concerns.
The entire mess is now being investigated by federal authorities as potentially being part of a hostile foreign influence operation illegally targeting our election. Indeed, Politico published this report overnight:
More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden's son "has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation."
These dozens of former officials added that their extensive national security experience has left them "deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case" and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin's hand at work.
"If we are right," they added, "this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this."
Jeremy Bash, who's served as the chief of staff at both the Pentagon and the CIA, told Rachel on the show last night that every intelligence professional he's spoken to about Giuliani's scheme agrees that "this walks like a Russian disinformation campaign, this talks like a Russian intelligence disinformation campaign, [and] this is most likely a Russian intelligence disinformation campaign against the Biden team."
Did Giuliani not see this coming? Evidently, his plan was to partner with an active Russian agent, shrug as U.S intelligence professionals warned the White House to be wary of his information, and then pretend to have the necessary credibility needed to smear Donald Trump's rival with information that's being investigated as being part of a possible foreign intelligence operation.
Instead of creating a scandal, Rudy Giuliani has found himself in the middle of one.