The reluctance of Bolton’s NSC team to engage with Giuliani shows that as early as the spring of 2019, the former New York mayor was seen as a conduit for Russia’s evolving efforts to manipulate the forthcoming election. One former senior White House official recalled a series of discussions in the early days of 2019 that Russia was working on a scheme to leak “forged” or “fake” emails through intermediaries in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election. Officials viewed Giuliani as a possible target for such a leak, that person said. Another former official said Russia’s penetration of the servers of Ukranian energy company Burisma—where Hunter Biden once sat on the board—prompted “informed speculation among professionals that this would be the entree to fabricate material connecting Hunter Biden to corruption inside Burisma, and it wouldn’t take more than 10 percent truth.”
As early as the spring of 2019, the former New York mayor was seen as a conduit for Russia’s evolving efforts to manipulate the forthcoming election.