Joseph diGenova (born February 22, 1945) is an American lawyer, political commentator, and conspiracy theorist who served as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1983 to 1988. He is known for promoting conspiracy theories about the Department of Justice and the FBI. He frequently appears on Fox News and Fox Business channels.
|United States Attorney for the District of Columbia|
December 2, 1983 – March 1, 1988
|Preceded by||Stanley S. Harris|
|Succeeded by||Jay B. Stephens|
|Born||February 22, 1945|
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Victoria Toensing (m. 1981)
|Education||University of Cincinnati (BA)|
Georgetown University (JD)
Career in law and politicsEdit
DiGenova was an aide to Republican Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, eventually serving as Mathias' legislative director. After Republicans won the U.S. Senate in the 1980 elections, DiGenova was named chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Rules Committee and counsel to the Senate Judiciary, Governmental Affairs, and Select Intelligence committees.
DiGenova later served as Independent Counsel investigating the 1992 preelection search of then-candidate Bill Clinton's passport file by officials of the George H. W. Bush administration. DiGenova concluded that the passport search had been "stupid, dumb and partisan," but not illegal, and that the government should apologize to the officials who ordered the search.
DiGenova called on President Trump to pardon Scooter Libby, adviser of Dick Cheney, who was found guilty of perjury in an investigation revolving around leaks of sensitive classified material. DiGenova is married to Libby's lawyer, Victoria Toensing. Trump pardoned Libby on April 13, 2018.
Russian interference in the 2016 electionEdit
DiGenova, who frequently appears as a commentator on Fox News, has accused FBI officials of trying to "frame" President Donald Trump for "nonexistent" crimes. On March 19, 2018, he and his spouse, Victoria Toensing, were hired to serve on Trump's legal team for the Special Counsel investigation. However, Trump backtracked the hires several days later due to potential conflicts of interest. The president hoped diGenova could function as a stand-in for him on television and spearhead the attacks on Mueller and the investigation.
In April 2018, diGenova called for the firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said that special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election were "legal terrorists" and called former FBI Director James Comey "a dirty cop". In May 2018 tweet, Trump quoted diGenova as saying "The recusal of Jeff Sessions was an unforced betrayal of the President of the United States."
On September 18, 2018, diGenova discounted charges that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, while drunk, had sexually assaulted a 15-year-old Christine Blasey Ford at a party. The allegations referred to a time when Kavanaugh was attending Georgetown Preparatory School. On Fox News, diGenova said if Ford testified, "...she's going to look like the loon that she is.”
In the summer of 2019, diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, were hired by the Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, to defend Firtash from extradition to the United States on corruption charges related to a mining permit in India. Firtash, as middleman for the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom, was known for funneling money to campaigns of pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine and is also a onetime business partner of Paul Manafort, a Trump 2016 campaign chairman.
In October 2019, Lev Parnas, a businessman who was working for diGenova and Toensing's firm as an interpreter in the Firtash case, was one of two men arrested at Dulles International Airport and accused by federal prosecutors of funneling foreign money into U.S. elections.
DiGenova and Toensing worked with Rudy Giuliani on opposition research from Ukraine to be used against the 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, according to Fox News Sunday. All three were working off the books, outside the administration, according to Fox News. “The only person in government who knows what they were doing is President Trump,” Fox host Chris Wallace said. DiGenova called the story "categorically false."
DiGenova and Toensing are lawyers for John Solomon, a conservative columnist who has written stories favorable to Trump on scandals involving Ukraine and Russia. “John Solomon has been a client of our firm for a very long time,” diGenova told Politico.
In November 2019, in an appearance on Fox News, diGenova pushed an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that George Soros "controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department" and "also controls the activities of FBI agents overseas who work for NOG's, work with NGO's. That was very evident in Ukraine." The Open Society Foundation, founded by George Soros, described diGenova's claims as "beyond rhetorical ugliness, beyond fiction, beyond ludicrous" and requested that Fox News provide an on-air retraction of diGenova's claims, and stop providing diGenova with a platform.
- Lewis, Nancy (January 13, 1988). "Digenova Turns In Resignation". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- LaFraniere, Sharon (February 29, 1988). "Digenova's Legacy". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Sheth, Sonam (April 11, 2018). "Former federal prosecutor Joseph DiGenova calls for Rosenstein's firing on Fox News after Trump tells people to tune in to the 'big show'". Business Insider. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
DiGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, both used to work within the US Justice Department, but later made their reputations peddling conspiracy theories on TV about the DOJ and FBI.
- Haberman, Maggie; Schmidt, Michael S. (March 19, 2018). "Trump Hires Lawyer Who Has Pushed Theory That Justice Dept. Framed the President". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
- Blake, Aaron (March 19, 2018). "Analysis | Trump just hired a deep-state conspiracy theorist as his lawyer. Here's what Joe DiGenova has said". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- Sheth, Sonam (March 19, 2018). "Trump is reportedly set to hire a new lawyer who called Comey 'a dirty cop' and accused the FBI of trying to 'frame' Trump". Business Insider. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- "The bizarre conspiracy theories peddled by Donald Trump's new lawyer". The Independent. March 20, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
- Hart, Benjamin. "Trump's Conspiracy Theory Lawyer Dropped From Team Before Starting". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
DiGenova is known as a fierce defender of Trump who has used frequent guest appearances on Fox News to advance far-out conspiracy theories that the FBI is trying to frame the president.
- Tibon, Amir (March 20, 2018). "Trump's New Lawyer: The Man Who Sent Jonathan Pollard to Jail". Haaretz. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
Joseph diGenova has promoted conspiracy theories about a 'deep state' attempt to 'frame' Trump and his campaign for criminal activities
- Breuninger, Kevin (March 27, 2018). "Here are the lawyers who quit or declined to represent Trump in the Mueller probe". CNBC. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
DiGenova, a regular Fox News guest, had spouted conspiracy theories about the Mueller probe's motives against Trump.
- "Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing have made over 90 appearances on Fox in 2019". Media Matters for America. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
- Kutner, Max (March 19, 2018). "Who Is Joseph diGenova, Trump's Newest Pick to Defend Him in Mueller Probe?". Newsweek. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
- Alfisi, Kathryn (February 2013). "A Conversation With Joseph diGenova". Washington Lawyer.
- "U.S. Prosecutor Is Resigning". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 13, 1988. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
- Pincus, Walter (December 1, 1995). "Independent Counsel calls '92 Clinton passport search "stupid" but not illegal". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
- Marcus, Ilana; Eaton, Joshua; Marcus, Ilana; Eaton, Joshua (November 12, 2019). "The Vicki & Joe Show: D.C. power couple hit airwaves as impeachment inquiry moves forward". Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- "diGenova & Toensing". www.digenovatoensing.com. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Baker, Peter; Haberman, Maggie (April 12, 2018). "Trump Plans to Pardon Scooter Libby for Perjury in C.I.A. Leak Case". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- Swanson, Ian (April 13, 2018). "Trump pardons Scooter Libby, saying he was 'treated unfairly'". The Hill. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- Liptak, Kevin (April 13, 2018). "Trump pardons ex-Cheney aide Scooter Libby". CNN. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- Knowles, Michael (April 13, 2018). "Trump Rightly Pardons Scooter Libby A Decade After Bush Refused". The Daily Wire. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- Lucey, Catherine (March 25, 2018). "Trump is staffing — or casting from Fox". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
- Haberman, Maggie; Landler, Mark; Schmidt, Michael S. (March 25, 2018). "Trump Won't Hire 2 Lawyers Whose Appointments Were Announced Days Ago". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
- Dawsey, Josh; Leonnig, Carol D.; Wagner, John (March 25, 2018). "In another blow to Trump's efforts to combat Russia probe, diGenova will no longer join legal team". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
- "Trump Again Says He Wishes Sessions Were Not Attorney General". The New York Times. May 30, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
- "Frequent Fox News guest tells Laura Ingraham "we are in a civil war;" suggests everyone buy guns to prepare for "total war"". Media Matters. February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
- Lemire, Jason (September 18, 2018). "Fox News guest claims Christine Blasey Ford will look like the "loon that she is." if she testifies against Brett Kavanaugh". Newsweek. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Ex-Prosecutor General Shokin defends oligarch Firtash | KyivPost - Ukraine's Global Voice". KyivPost. September 27, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
- "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
- NW, The Center for Responsive Politics 1300 L. St; Washington, Suite 200; fax857-7809, DC 20005 telelphone857-0044 (July 31, 2019). "Ukrainian oligarch and Michael Cohen attorney Lanny Davis cut ties as extradition looms". OpenSecrets News. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
- "Comrade Capitalism: The Kiev Connection". Reuters. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- Myers, Steven Lee; Kramer, Andrew E. (July 31, 2016). "How Paul Manafort Wielded Power in Ukraine Before Advising Donald Trump". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- Tau, Aruna Viswanatha, Rebecca Ballhaus, Sadie Gurman and Byron. "Two Giuliani Associates Who Helped Him on Ukraine Charged With Campaign-Finance Violations". WSJ. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
- Blitzer, Ronn (September 29, 2019). "Giuliani was not working alone in Biden Ukraine probe". Fox News. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
- Bixby, Justin Baragona|Scott (September 29, 2019). "Frequent Fox Guests diGenova and Toensing Reportedly Teamed Up With Giuliani on Ukraine-Biden". Retrieved September 30, 2019.
- "Lawyers for Ukrainian oligarch have another client: The columnist who pushed Biden corruption claims". POLITICO. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
- Staff, Media Matters. "Lou Dobbs guest Joe diGenova says George Soros controls a large part of the State Department and activities of FBI agents". Media Matters for America.
- Wemple, Eric (November 14, 2019). "Soros foundation requests banning of Joe diGenova from Fox News/Fox Business after anti-Semitic rant". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 14, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2019.