Rudy Giuliani is now reportedly the subject of a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, per The New York Times. Sources close to the situation have said that prosecutors are now looking into whether or not the former New York City mayor violated foreign lobbying disclosure laws during his interactions with the Ukrainian government.
This new investigation comes on the heels of ex-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony to the House of Representatives on Friday. In her statement, Yovanovitch said she had minimal dealings with Trump’s personal lawyer, but was told she was forced out of her position at the request of Donald Trump, as The Inquisitr reports.
Giuliani has not denied his part in the process of removing Yovanovitch from her post, admitting that he did work with Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko to find potentially damaging information about the ex-ambassador, as well as other adversaries of Trump, like former Vice President Joe Biden, according to The New York Times report.
The former mayor said he worked with Lutsenko to transmit information about Trump’s targets to American law enforcement agencies. Giuliani also stated he both spoke with Lutsenko over the phone and met with him personally in New York.
Trump’s personal lawyer then said he transferred the information Lutsenko gave him to the State Department, who in turn handed the information over to the FBI. Giuliani said he did not know who told him the information eventually made it to the federal law enforcement agency. He also said he gave the information to The Hill reporter John Solomon, who wrote negative articles about Yovanovitch.
Although Giuliani has admitted to meeting with Ukrainian officials, and has also admitted to working with two Ukrainian contacts who were arrested Thursday for violating campaign finance laws, the former mayor has maintained his innocence, claiming he has done nothing wrong. He maintains that he was working on behalf of the president, not Ukrainian officials, which would protect him from any foreign lobbying laws.
The laws prevent any foreign influence from affecting the U.S. government, and they have received a greater focus ever since the investigation started into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The laws state that any American citizen must disclose any requests from foreign politicians or government officials to contact U.S. government officials or media on their behalf.
Additionally, Giuliani owns a consulting firm for foreign clients that has done work in Ukraine, including working on a business venture that earned him “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” The outcome of this business venture is another supposed focus of the Manhattan prosecutors.
The alleged investigation comes at a time when the impeachment inquiry is heating up for Trump on Capitol Hill. Further testimony from State Department employees is scheduled to continue next week. A criminal case against the president’s lawyer would create even more trouble for the commander-in-chief.
For his part, Trump seems to be distancing himself from his lawyer. When asked by a reporter outside the White House if Giuliani was still working for him, Trump answered, “I don’t know.”