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Rudy Giuliani on Fox Business' "Morning with Maria" on Sept. 23. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

New York federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to determine if he "broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine," the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Two foreign-born Trump donors who helped connect Giuliani with Ukrainian officials in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son were arrested on Wednesday night on campaign finance charges.

What's happening: Investigators are reportedly looking at "Giuliani’s efforts to undermine" former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who testified on Friday to 3 House committees that are investigating Trump and Ukraine and said the president pressured a top State Department official to oust her.

  • Those committees later said they subpoenaed the ambassador after the White House, through the State Department, directed her not to testify.
  • Trump replaced Yovanovitch in May in part because of former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko's corruption allegations against Biden, according to the whistleblower report that alleges Trump used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election."

What he's saying: Giuliani "said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations" since he was acting on behalf of Trump and not former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko when he gathered information on Yovanovitch and "relayed it to the American government and the news media," per the Times.

Where it stands: "It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case," per the Times.

Go deeper: Foreign-born Giuliani associates arrested on campaign finance charges

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.