Rudy Giuliani, the former head federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, is now on the other side of the microscope as his successors in that office of the Justice Department are investigating his business dealings in Ukraine, according to report today in The Wall Street Journal.
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Journal reveals that the U.S. Attorneys’ office in Manhattan is examining Giuliani’s “finances, meetings and work for a city mayor” in Ukraine and have delved into his banking records in search of more information related to Donald Trump’s personal lawyer’s activities related to his two recently arrested business associates.
Last week, two of the former New York City Mayor’s colleagues — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — were arrested on charges of campaign-finance and conspiracy just as they were about to leave the country on one-way airfares.
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The indictment against the pair accuses them of concealing the sources of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Republican political action committees — including money funneled to a former Republican congressman who helped lobby to remove the former American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, because of her interference in their efforts to find incriminating information on Trump’s political opponents.
According to the article in The Wall Street Journal, investigators have been questioning witnesses about Giuliani since at least August of this year.
For his part, the president’s close confidant and legal advisor denied being involved in any illegal activities and told reporters that he was unaware of any investigation.
“They can look at my Ukraine business all they want,” Giuliani said.
It could be that Giuliani’s confident response to the news of the investigation stems from a certainty that a pardon lies in his future were he to be convicted of any wrongdoing, or from the knowledge that Attorney General William Barr could step in to halt the New York prosecutors’ probe at any time — not an unthinkable scenario given Barr’s penchant for protecting Trump and his allies at any opportunity.
With the scope of the SDNY prosecutors’ inquiry still undetermined, we’ll have to look at what happens when his arrested associates — now free on million-dollar bail bonds — appear in court later this week to get an idea of what may be ahead for Giuliani.
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Original reporting by Aruna Viswanatha, Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Rebecca Ballhaus at The Wall Street Journal.