Politics EXPLAINER: What to know about the Giuliani investigation
What's happening with the Rudy Giuliani raids and Ukraine investigation
Federal agents raided the apartment and office of former President Donald Trump's longtime attorney Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday, an extraordinary move in the Justice Department's ongoing criminal probe.Federal agents raided the apartment and office of former President Donald Trump's longtime attorney Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday, an extraordinary move in the Justice Department's ongoing criminal probe.
NEW YORK (AP) — The long-running federal investigation intomoved back into public view Wednesday when from the former mayor's home and office.
The search was the latest development in an inquiry that overlapped with the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump, who was accused of pressuring the leaders of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
Trump slams FBI raid on 'patriot' Giuliani's home as 'very unfair'
Trump spoke Thursday after federal agents raided Giuliani's home Wednesday. The former president told Fox Business: 'He just loves this country. It's like so unfair.'The former president spoke out to defend his personal attorney after federal agents raided the 76-year-old former New York City mayor's home and office Wednesday, taking with them his electronic devices.
The probe involves a complex web of international characters who dealt with Giuliani as he tried to stir up support for a Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens.
Federal prosecutors haven't disclosed which elements of Giuliani's work are the focus of their probe, currently being led by Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
FBI 'warned Rudy Giuliani he was target of Russia plot to smear Biden'
Multiple sources said Giuliani was warned about Russia's attempts to potentially use him to push false claims to smear Joe Biden during the White House race. At the time, Giuliani was a key figure in Trump's reelection campaign and was seeking to unearth damaging information about Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in Ukraine. But, despite the warning, Giuliani plowed ahead with a trip to Ukraine that December where he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker who the US government later said was 'an active Russian agent' who had ran an 'influence campaign' to sway the outcome of the election.
But at least one part is an examination of whether Giuliani failed to disclose to the U.S. government work he did on behalf of foreign entities.
WHY IS GIULIANI UNDER INVESTIGATION?
Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, said the search warrants involved an allegation that Giuliani failed to register as a foreign agent.
, originally passed before World War II to expose Nazi propaganda, requires people to disclose to the Justice Department when they have been hired to lobby in the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments, figures or political entities.
Criminal prosecutions under the law were once rare, but there have been a number of high-profile cases in recent years, including during special counselinto Russian election interference. Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was he'd done for a political party in Ukraine. Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, about work he'd done for Turkey.
How 'America's Mayor' Rudy Giuliani could face criminal charges from the office he once led
Rudy Giuliani used to lead the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Now, he might be prosecuted by it.The feds on Wednesday executed search warrants on Rudy Giuliani's home and office and seized his electronic devices. Agents also seized a computer belonging to his personal assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte, served Zafonte with a grand jury subpoena, and raided the Washington, DC, home of Giuliani's associate Victoria Toensing.
In addition, Imaad Zuberi, a political fundraiser who attracted attention for large donations to Trump's inaugural committee, was sentenced in February to 12 years in prison for a violation of the foreign agents' act and other crimes.
WHAT WORK DID GIULIANI DO ON BEHALF OF UKRANIAN INTERESTS?
Giuliani’s Legal Trouble Is Trump’s Too
To save himself, the president’s former lawyer might have to spill damning secrets.But it sure looks like he has a long legal battle ahead of him, and his best defense will likely put him at odds with his former boss. If Trump doesn’t voluntarily protect his one-time counsel, Giuliani may have no choice but to point the finger at his former client. (Their relationship was tested in January when Trump reportedly refused to pay Giuliani for his unsuccessful work trying to overturn the November election results.
In numerous interviews, Giuliani has said that his work in Ukraine was intended to benefit only one person: Trump.
His goal, he has said, was to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden's son, Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.
However, at least some of the Ukrainian characters dealing with Giuliani as he tried to dig up dirt on the Bidens have said they also wanted his help with matters related to the U.S. government.
They included Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko., Lutsenko has said he asked for Giuliani's help arranging a meeting with the U.S. attorney general to discuss efforts to recover looted national assets. He also spoke with Giuliani about his clashes with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. The Trump administration later removed .
If Giuliani lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian figures, he might have been obligated to disclose that work.
WHAT HAS GIULIANI SAID?
Costello, Giuliani's lawyer, castigated Wednesday's FBI raid as corrupt and said he can demonstrate that the former New York mayor did no work as a foreign agent.
Giuliani previously told The Associated Press he “never represented a foreign anything before the U.S. government.”
Rudy Giuliani Says He's 'Biggest Anti-Communist,' Not a 'Russian Agent'
"I'm probably the biggest anti-communist you ever met," Rudy Giuliani said on Monday. "Uh, there's no way I'm a Russian agent."Giuliani made the remarks during an appearance on the latest edition of Fox News' Hannity. The former New York City mayor, a Republican, suggested that the FBI raiding of his Manhattan apartment last week was part of an attempt to "destroy" his reputation due to his investigation of President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.
In the past, Giuliani has acknowledged that he considered taking on some Ukrainian figures and the Ukrainian government as paying clients, including Lutsenko, but said he ultimately decided not to do so.
That included deals that would have paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a.
“I thought that would be too complicated,” Giuliani told the newspaper at the time. “I never received a penny.”
HAVE GIULIANI OR HIS ASSOCIATES BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING?
Giuliani has not been charged with any crime and federal prosecutors have not publicly accused him of any misconduct.
Some of Giuliani's associates in his campaign to dig up dirt on the Bidens have, however, been indicted.
and Igor Fruman, who helped arrange Giuliani's meetings with Ukrainian figures, face federal charges that they helped foreigners make illegal campaign contributions to American politicians, including a pro-Trump political action committee, while trying to gain influence in government.
Initially, prosecutors had accused them of also secretly working on behalf of an unnamed Ukrainian official who wanted the removal of the U.S. ambassador, but that allegation was subsequently quietly erased from a superseding indictment.
It isn't part of the criminal case, but Parnas in 2019 also helped arrange for an Ukrainian tycoon, Dmitry Firtash, to hire lawyers to lobby the U.S. Justice Department to drop an international bribery charge pending against him in Chicago.
Firtash has said in interviews that at one time he was paying $300,000 per month to those lawyers, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, who were also involved in Giuliani's campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
The FBI also executed a search warrant Wednesday on a phone belonging to Toensing, who has said she is not a target of the investigation.
Some documents that Toensing or diGenova gathered, ostensibly as part of Firtash's attempts to fight extradition from Austria, wound up being the basis of conservative media reports that Joe Biden had tried to block a Ukrainian prosecutor from investigating the gas company that had put Hunter Biden on its board.
Biden did press for the prosecutor’s firing, but that’s because he was reflecting the official position of not only the Obama administration but many Western countries that the prosecutor was perceived as soft on corruption.
Giuliani cuts down his entourage .
It's the latest sign that the former New York mayor's legal woes are taking their toll on his lifestyle.Giuliani laid off several staffers and independent contractors in the last few weeks, according to one of the people, who said the ousted employees had been told that the former New York mayor was seeking to cut costs.