As the FBI investigation into Donald Trump and his campaign’s ties with Russia intensifies, one of the most prominent Trump surrogates has gone under the radar: Former New York mayor and disgraced birther propagandist Rudy Giuliani. And he has reason to be scared.
Giuliani, a loyal, often ferocious backer of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, has strong connections to the Russian regime and was very active in the campaign, praising Vladimir Putin and demonizing Hillary Clinton as Russia perpetrated an unprecedented attack on U.S. democracy.
Records show Mr. Giuliani has had ties dating to at least 2004 to TriGlobal, a company that has provided image consulting to Russian oligarchs and clients with deep Kremlin ties. They have included Transneft, Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline giant, which is the target of Western sanctions imposed after President Vladimir V. Putin annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.
According to The New York Times, TriGlobal’s advisory board includes Ara Abramyan, listed on the company’s website as a “very close Advisor to the Russian Government’s inner circle including the President and the Prime Minister.” The company’s founding partners are Andrey Drobyshev, who has strong relations with the Kremlin, and Vitaly Pruss, whose website profile says that he has focused on “international image development and PR for Russian & Ukrainian companies” and that from 2008 to 2011, he worked “closely with Giuliani Partners LLC.”
The Times notes that Jeffrey Berman, one of TriGlobal’s managing partners, is also vice president of Berman Enterprises, a family-run company that worked with Giuliani Partners in 2008 to form a commercial and residential real estate investment vehicle called the Berman Opportunity Fund which targets Russian investors.
Few public details are available about Mr. Giuliani’s role in the real estate venture, but some of Mr. Giuliani’s work for TriGlobal, which has offices in Moscow and Kiev, Ukraine, is featured on the company’s website.
In 2004, the company arranged to have Giuliani come to Moscow to meet with the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, as well as other prominent Russian politicians and business executives. That year, Mr. Giuliani visited Magnitogorsk, Russia, “for a series of meetings with Viktor Rashnikov,” a Russian billionaire who is the chairman of the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works.
During the presidential campaign, Giuliani worked closely with Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign over his contacts with Russian officials.
Yes, Rudy, be afraid, very afraid.