President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is being probed by federal authorities for allegations of campaign finance violations and failure to register as a foreign agent in his dealings with Ukraine, according to a report Friday.
Officials said Giuliani’s conduct sparked counterintelligence concerns and could result in charges of bribery or conspiracy as well, Bloomberg reported.
The former New York City mayor, one of the major players in the impeachment inquiry against Trump, is being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, although the particulars of the probe, including whether it is related to his work for the president, are unclear.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified to Congress last month that Giuliani told him Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate both alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election as well as the Ukrainian gas company tied to 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, an issue “of importance for the president” according to Giuliani.
Democrats spearheaded an impeachment probe against the president after the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that Trump had asked Zelensky to help his administration investigate Burisma. Trump claims that Biden used his position as vice president to help Burisma avoid a corruption probe soon after the younger Biden was appointed to its board of directors. The administration’s simultaneous delay of U.S. military aid to Ukraine sparked concerns of a quid pro quo scheme involving Zelensky’s agreement to publicly announce an investigation into the Bidens.
“I did not understand, until much later, that Mr. Giuliani’s agenda might have also included an effort to prompt the Ukrainians to investigate Vice President Biden or his son or to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 re-election campaign,” Sondland said in his prepared testimony for the closed-door hearing.
The investigation into Giuliani’s dealings with Ukraine grew out of a probe of two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both Soviet-born, who have been charged with illegally funneling hundred of thousands in foreign donations to U.S. political candidates and a political action committee supporting Trump.
Republicans have panned the attacks on Giuliani, saying they are merely a means of strengthening the impeachment inquiry.
“The Democrats’ motive is to bring Giuliani in front and center and they believe that by impeaching Giuliani they can impeach the president,” said Republican congressman Mark Meadows.