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Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani traveled to Ukraine and Hungary this week in order to meet with the same former Ukrainian prosecutors whose unsubstantiated claims about Joe Biden and his son helped set off the impeachment inquiry, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The overtures to Yuri Lutsenko, Viktor Shokin and Kostiantyn Kulyk — all of whom have faced allegations of corruption — are part of an effort to solicit new information that Giuliani hopes will undercut the impeachment proceedings, according to the Times.

  • The Times also reports that Giuliani is using the trip to help produce more episodes of a documentary series marketed as an alternative to Democrats' impeachment narrative on One America News, a pro-Trump media outlet.

Between the lines: The news of Giuliani's trip follows reports from the Times and the Washington Post that he was pursuing thousands of dollars in business from Ukrainian officials — including Lutsenko — in the same months he was attempting to unearth damaging information about Trump's political rivals.

  • In addition to facing impeachment scrutiny, Giuliani and his associates are being investigated by prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, who are reportedly considering a wide array of charges ranging from unregistered foreign lobbying to fraud to money laundering.

What they're saying: A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Budapest confirmed to the Times that Giuliani had dinner there Tuesday night with the ambassador.

  • Giuliani did not immediately respond to a comment from Axios. To the Times, he rejected the notion that continuing to pursue missions in Ukraine was risky in light of the impeachment inquiry and New York investigation.
  • "If S.D.N.Y. leaks and Democrats’ threats stopped me, then I should find a new profession," he texted.

Go deeper: Giuliani pursued business in Ukraine while seeking to dig up dirt on Trump's rivals

Go deeper

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era lends perspective to the historic damage caused by the pandemic, which continued to weigh on growth in the final quarter of 2020.

By the numbers: The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the prior quarter. For the full year, the economy shrank by 3.5% — the first annual contraction since the financial crisis and the worst decline since 1946.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.