October 25, 2021

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Hey, Rudy, Where’s The Warrant?

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(Photo by Rob Kim/Getty)

Since waking up to find the FBI at his door this week, Rudy Giuliani has been making the rounds. After sending his charmless son Andrew out to reprise his performance at the 1994 mayoral inauguration, the president’s lawyer Robert Costello issued a bizarre statement excoriating the FBI agents who conducted the raid for refusing to take possession of “Hunter Biden’s hard drives.”

Of course, I’m sure you will not be surprised that the FBI left behind the only electronics that contain evidence of crimes, the Hunter Biden hard drives. Mayor Giuliani offered them on several occasions,  but the agents steadfastly declined.  Keep in mind that the agents could not read the physical hard drives without plugging them in, but they took Mr. Giuliani’s word that the hard drives were copies of Hunter Biden’s hard drive and did not contain anything pertaining to Mr. Giuliani.  Think about what that tells you. Their reliance on Mr. Giuliani’s credibility tells you everything you need to know about this case.

It’s an odd position to take just one paragraph after complaining that prosecutors refused to allow Rudy and his lawyer to “sit with the SDNY and demonstrate that Mr. Giuliani’s conduct was lawful” — i.e. take his word for it.

Then last night the president’s lawyer headed for Tucker Carlson’s White Rage Variety Hour to inveigh against rapacious federal law enforcement officers. And amazingly lightning failed to strike him on the spot.

“At the end of the search, when they had taken about seven or eight electronic items of mine, which is what they took, and two of someone else’s, they weren’t taking the three hard drives [allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden], which of course are electronic devices,” the cybersecurity expert told his credulous host. “They just mimic the computer.”

How has one laptop allegedly abandoned at a computer shop in Delaware morphed into three hard drives? Look, that’s not important now! The important thing is that Giuliani repeatedly pressed the agents to take possession of them, to no avail.

“The warrant required them to take it, and they said ‘No!’” he recounted dramatically, but without producing said warrant for inspection or even quoting language from it which would mandate the seizure of every piece of electronic equipment that “mimics the computer.”

Who among us would be surprised if Rudy mistook a broken modem for “Hunter Biden’s hard drive?” Or even a printer cable, if we’re being honest, right? And anyway, didn’t he already turn that laptop over to police in Delaware after belatedly realizing that he’d copped to possession of child pornography when he claimed to have found “photos of underaged girls” on it?

Then Giuliani went on to invent a whole new standard for executing a warrant on an attorney’s office.

“The reality is that that warrant is completely illegal,” he rasped. “The only way you can get a search warrant is if you can show that there’s some evidence that the person is going to destroy the evidence. Or is going to run away with the evidence.”

Well, no. Even the DOJ’s heightened standard for searches of an attorney’s office don’t require evidence of imminent destruction of the evidence. The U.S. Attorney’s Manual does suggest a strong preference for use of a subpoena, but that’s hardly enough to render a judicially approved search warrant “illegal.”

Although Alan Dershowitz is apparently raring to take that particular argument out for a spin, according to the Daily Beast, which reports that the famed Newsmax law professor will be giving Giuliani “constitutional advice.”

But Rudy wasn’t done talking. He still needed to blow up his own theory of being targeted by the “Biden department of justice” and “Biden Crime family.” (rAnDOm cAPitaLIzatiON iS fuN!)

“They also got it from the iCloud!” shouted Giuliani, gesturing toward the heavens where Steve Jobs arranges Rudy’s butt-texts in neat stacks.

“The DOJ in late 2019 covertly obtained access to my iCloud and never notified me,” he tweeted later, incensed that prosecutors might not disclose to the subject of an investigation that it had gotten a warrant for his data.

“They invaded the attorney client relationship as we were defending against the phony impeachment,” he howled, seemingly oblivious that he’d just acknowledged that it was Bill Barr, not Merrick Garland, who approved the original warrant for his digital data.

But Rudy was far too busy railing against the Deep State to engage with petty details like linear time.

“These prosecutors violated the laws, not me,” he huffed. “If again, nothing is done, you could be next.”

Which is probably true, as far as it goes. If you negotiate a contract with the Ukrainian chief prosecutor and then spend the next year trying to accomplish all his goals, you might well wake up to find federal agents at your front door. But then again, you’re probably not that crazy.

Which is why you aren’t going to “take Mr. Giuliani’s word” as to the contents of that warrant and what went down when it was executed. If Rudy wants us to believe that the FBI did something inappropriate, then he can bloody well fork over the evidence.

If he’s not going to shut up — and let’s face it, he’s never going to shut up — then Rudy needs to put up that warrant.

Come on, Roodles! What have you got to lose?

Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.

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