Oct 21, 2019

NYT: DOJ distances itself from Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Department of Justice officials wouldn't have met with Rudy Giuliani about a fraud case had they known that federal prosecutors were investigating two of his business associates, a DOJ official told the New York Times Sunday.

Why it matters: The highly unusual statement by DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr to the NYT clearly distances the department from President Trump's personal lawyer, whose associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have been indicted in New York on campaign finance charges.

  • Guliani's business dealings with Ukraine are being investigated by federal prosecutors in the New York case against his associates. He's also at the center of the impeachment inquiry for allegedly trying to press Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden over unsubstantiated corruption allegations.

What they're saying: Brian Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and other top Justice Department officials met with Giuliani before the pair was charged to discuss a fraud case "in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants," per the Times.

"When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani’s associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known."
— Carr's statement to the NYT

Go deeper: Trump's Rudy problem

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Indicted Giuliani associate raises possibility of executive privilege in court

Lev Parnas. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A defense attorney for Lev Parnas, one of the two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani indicted on campaign finance charges this month, argued in a Manhattan court Wednesday that the White House could potentially invoke executive privilege over some of the evidence gathered by prosecutors, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Parnas, who pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped funnel foreign money into Republican campaigns, employed Giuliani as his lawyer at the same time that Giuliani was working for President Trump. Parnas and Igor Fruman are also under scrutiny from House investigators over allegations that they helped introduce Giuliani to Ukrainian officials as part of a campaign to gather damaging information on Joe Biden and help oust the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

Go deeper: Trump officials worry about Giuliani's foreign dealings

Keep ReadingArrowOct 23, 2019

WSJ: Feds probe Giuliani's personal ties to Ukrainian energy project

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani expected to personally profit from a Ukrainian natural-gas business backed by two colleagues who helped his push for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Earlier this year, Giuliani's associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman proposed plans to Ukrainian officials and energy executives for a Poland-Ukraine pipeline transporting U.S. natural gas. The two men also requested assistance on investigations into Biden and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019

Rudy Giuliani lawyers up amid impeachment inquiry

Rudy Giuliani on "Meet the Press" in April 2019. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC

President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday he has obtained legal representation from commercial and criminal litigation lawyer Robert Costello, as well as Eric Creizman and Melissa Madrigal from the Pierce Bainbridge firm.

The big picture: Giuliani is a key player in the Trump-Ukraine saga. He has continually campaigned for Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens and to dig into the origins of the Russia probe. House impeachment committee members and several witnesses have accused Trump of withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure its government to announce these investigations.

Go deeperArrowNov 6, 2019