When an anti-Trump or an anti- Giuliani story goes on line during an MSNBC or CNN show, the anchors rush to cover it  often without quite understanding what it’s about.

That happened on Friday night, October 10 just as Rachel Maddow was wrapping up at MSNBC and just as Don Lemon was coming on air at CNN. To be charitable, haste made for an outrageous distortion of what the article said.

I have no brief for Rudy Giuliani.  In my opinion, his numerous statements and television appearances on behalf of President Trump often demonstrate that he is lying or impaired, or both. That’s when you can figure out what he is saying.

The story that was distorted on MSNBC and CNN appeared in the print edition of the Times on Saturday, October 11 on page one with the headline “Giuliani is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work.” (Fox had no problem; they did not cover it.)

On Friday night, the anchors let their minds wander from the headline. Rudy is the first United States Attorney to be investigated by the office he once headed, they opined.  (What about Mort Robson?) There is a possibility that Rudy will “flip” on the President, they suggested. They treated the story as a four-alarm fire.

In fact the Times story is essentially an interview with Rudy following the tip from two leakers alleging that Manhattan federal prosecutors are investigating whether he “broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine…”

There may be other allegations that are being investigated, but neither the Times story nor the improvident MSNBC and CNN coverage  specifies them. My comments here address only that story and that coverage.

After repeating allegations that he undermined former ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch ; that the alleged investigation is “tied to the case against” two persons arrested on campaign finance-related charges; and that a “criminal investigation…raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president,” the story turns to an interview with Rudy.

Although it did not make much of an impression on the Friday night anchors (if they knew it), the law that Rudy allegedly violated (if there actually is an investigation) is the Foreign Agent’s Registration Act, a 1938 law signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt (FARA). See

According to the Justice Department, “FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal” to the end that “disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people…in light of their function as foreign agents.” Not a word of this from Maddow or Lemon.

For all viewers knew while listening to Maddow and Lemon, when acting for Trump with Ukrainian officials, Rudy violated FARA.

There’s a form to file.

Make no mistake: Rudy has to be a “foreign agent” for any of this to stick.

The idea that Rudy’s interviews with two former Ukrainian prosecutors to get dirt on the Bidens and to get rid of Yovanovitch makes him a “foreign agent” is just as absurd as some of the allegations Rudy makes on television.

In a moment of lucidity, Rudy told the Times, “Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they [the alleged Rudy investigators] have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on [former Ukrainian corruption prosecutor] Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States.”

In plain English, common objectives of Trump and certain former Ukrainian officials do not a “foreign agent” make. If anyone doubts the fact of Rudy’s representation of Trump, they have been living under a rock.

Maddow, Lemon and their producers should master the story they are reporting lest they screw it up as they did on Friday night.


Under the page one headline “Giuliani Pursued Private Business With Ukrainians,” the New York Times of November 28, 2019 reports on allegations that Giuliani was doing business for his own account while working on behalf of President Trump in Ukraine. The Times report is based on documents reviewed by the Times.

According to the report, Yuriy Lutsenko, then Ukraine’s top prosecutor, met with Giuliani to further their mutual objectives to oust U.S. Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch with whom Lutsenko had butted heads.

This contact led to a draft of a $ 300,000 retainer agreement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice to Giuliani Partners and signed by Giuliani but not by the Ministry, ostensibly to assist Ukraine in the recovery of stolen Ukraine assets, the Times says.

According to Ukraine, it had no such agreement and made no payments.

Were Giuliani to have represented Lutsenko and/or Ukraine, that arguably would have required FARA registration.

Of course, the cablenet anchors had no knowledge of Giuliani’s proposed representation when they let their minds wander on October 10, 2019 as detailed in the original blog above.