Various news outlets this week have covered the havoc being wreaked in Romania by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and tried to figure out WTF he’s up to and who he’s really working for.
Allow me to explain.
A Politico story on Wednesday noted that Rudy had caused a firestorm in Romania by sending a letter to the country’s president that attacked the National Anticorruption Directorate. The DNA, as the Directorate is known, had overstepped its bounds with “intimidation of judges, defense lawyers, and witnesses,” as well as phone tapping and forced confessions,” Giuliani wrote.
He called for an amnesty for all “who have been prosecuted and convicted through the excesses of the DNA.”
Giuliani has not been terribly forthcoming about who he’s representing or how much he’s getting paid for his letter-writing. He has told media outlets that he was hired by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who runs a global consulting firm called Freeh Group International Solutions, but Freeh hasn’t disclosed who his client is.
The Guardian, among other outlets, have said Freeh — and hence Rudy — is working to free a (very shady) Romanian-American real estate magnate targeted by the DNA who was convicted and sentenced to prison over a corrupt land deal.
That may be true, but he’s apparently not the only person Giuliani and Freeh are trying to help out. Who else, you may be wondering?
I’ll tell you, but before going on, let me confess something here: I know very little about Romania.
It’s a small country in Eastern or possibly Central Europe or thereabouts, and it was once ruled by a brutal shit head named Nicolae Ceausescu, who, along with his wife, was pleasingly butchered by enraged citizens when Communism collapsed. I have no strong desire to go there because it seems cold and dark and I doubt I’d like the cuisine, which I suspect includes a lot of dishes with beets and carrots and radishes. Dracula was born there, some sources, who must remain anonymous for reasons of personal safety, tell me.
Let me also confess that I know very little about the DNA, other than what I’ve been reading sporadically quite recently after getting a tip about what Rudy’s really up to in Romania. It sounds like the DNA is doing some good things fighting corruption, but it would hardly surprise me if it’s record wasn’t spotless. That doesn’t mean that everyone prosecuted by it is innocent, as Rudy’s letter would have you believe.
Anyway, whatever I know about Romania is at least five times more than Rudy knows. What’s also clear is that Rudy doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of criminal defendants and overzealous prosecutors — see this Jacobin story for a good historical accounting of his wretched adventures in crime-fighting — or corruption. If you’re dumb enough to believe any of that, I have a bridge to sell you in Bucharest.
Giuliani obviously is not seeking truth and justice in Romania, he is out to make as much cash as possible and he’ll take it wherever he can get it. So who are he and Freeh working for, in addition to the real estate magnate?
Evidence, history, common sense and a very good source strongly suggests that they have at least one additional client, the notorious Israeli oligarch Beny Steinmetz. He’s being investigated — for bribery, moneylaundering and fraud — by law enforcement and government agencies in a number of countries.
These include Israel, where he was detained last year, Switzerland, the United States and…yes, Romania. In 2016, the DNA indicted him “for complicity in money laundering, peddling influence and forming an organized crime group,” says this article.
Hmmm. So if Rudy’s call for an amnesty for those prosecuted by the DNA were approved, guess whose case would be dropped in Romania? Exactly. Poor, poor Beny Steinmetz’s.
What makes me think Rudy and Freeh are helping out Steinmetz now? Well, in addition to the source, both of them have long histories working for the Israeli. Here’s a Wall Street Journal story about Rudy’s deep partnership with Steinmetz and here’s a piece I wrote a few years ago about Freeh’s egregious shilling for him.
Incidentally, Alan Dershowitz is one of Steinmetz’s criminal defense lawyers. It would hardly be shocking, though this is speculative, if the author of “The Case Against Impeaching Trump” wasn’t swirling around the mix as well given his paid relationship with Steinmetz and friendship with Giuliani.
So that’s it. Nothing here to see but President Trump’s lawyer and a former head of the FBI intruding into Romanian politics by apparently colluding to help an Israeli oligarch escape prosecution for alleged crimes of vast corruption. Pretty much par for the course in our day and age.