Pages

Friday, 12 February 2021

Revealed: Trump appointees in the Justice Department stopped prosecutors from getting a warrant to seize Rudy Giuliani's electronic records on his dealings with Ukraine

 Efforts by federal prosecutors in Manhattan to obtain access to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's communications hit a wall among top Justice Department employees in Washington in the last days of the Trump administration, it was revealed this week. 

Giuliani, whose investigative efforts on behalf of Trump in Ukraine featured in Trump's first impeachment, has been reported to be under investigation, and two of his former Ukrainian associates have been charged with crimes. 

The effect of the decision was to delay action on the request for a warrant, as the matter got kicked over to the new administration.

It was top political appointees of President Trump who made the decisions. 

High-level Justice Department officials turned down New York prosecutors' requests to get a warrant for Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's communications last summer and right after the November elections. Giuliani's

High-level Justice Department officials turned down New York prosecutors' requests to get a warrant for Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's communications last summer and right after the November elections. Giuliani's 

Prosecutors in New York were conducting a complex investigation into whether Giuliani violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act through his work on behalf of Trump, which included his own probe and meetings with officials as he sought dirt on Joe Biden's son Hunter over Hunter Biden's business dealings.

Prosecutors were seeking a warrant last summer, the New York Times reported. 

The action required approval from the main Justice Department, under guidelines that set a high bar for searching materials belonging to a lawyer that may be privileged. Giuliani's work on behalf of Trump is well known and became a key issue during the 2020 impeachment. 

Top officials at DOJ raised concerns about issuing a warrant so close to an election, people with knowledge of it told the paper. DOJ rules prevent actions close to an election that might be seen as interference – a matter that came up both in 2016 during the probe of Hillary Clinton's emails and in 2020 during the investigation, not publicly revealed, into Hunter Biden over potential tax issues.  

Giuliani sought information in Ukraine on Trump rival Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. He also headed his effort to overturn the election results

Giuliani sought information in Ukraine on Trump rival Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. He also headed his effort to overturn the election results

This undated image released by the House Judiciary Committee from documents provided by Lev Parnas to the committee in the impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, shows a photo of Lev Parnas with Rudy Giuliani. Parnas, a close associate of Trump's personal lawyer Giuliani is claiming Trump was directly involved in the effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden photos that have emerged of the two men together

This undated image released by the House Judiciary Committee from documents provided by Lev Parnas to the committee in the impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, shows a photo of Lev Parnas with Rudy Giuliani. Parnas, a close associate of Trump's personal lawyer Giuliani is claiming Trump was directly involved in the effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden photos that have emerged of the two men together

High-level Justice Department officials turned down the request for a warrant on Giuliani's communications

High-level Justice Department officials turned down the request for a warrant on Giuliani's communications

In this handout photo provided by Adriii Derkach's press office, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for U.S President Donald Trump, left, meets with Ukrainian lawmaker Adriii Derkach in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. A Ukrainian lawmaker says he has met up with Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, in Kyiv to discuss an anti-corruption project

In this handout photo provided by Adriii Derkach's press office, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for U.S President Donald Trump, left, meets with Ukrainian lawmaker Adriii Derkach in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. A Ukrainian lawmaker says he has met up with Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, in Kyiv to discuss an anti-corruption project

The timeline of the request – during the summer – puts it before the two months before an election when officials take special care not to engage in actions that might interfere. 

New York prosecutors made another effort after the election, according to the Times, but were met with resistance in part because Giuliani at that time was spearheading Trump's efforts to overturn the election. 


In the end, they took no final action and effectively punted until after the handover. Although the Times didn't identify an official by name, the paper said it reached the level of the deputy attorney general's office.  

CNN reported that DOJ officials were discussing efforts to get Giuliani's communications in December. 

Giuliani did not conceal his efforts in Ukraine, and said he was working on behalf of Trump gratis.   

In 2019 two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were charged with conspiring to violate the ban on political donations and contributions by foreign nationals in connection to a straw donor scheme.

They were pictured repeatedly with Giuliani on social media accounts. 

Prosecutors were investigating Giuliani's ties to Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who has been fighting U.S. extradition. 

Former Attorney General Bill Barr left his post shortly before Christmas, at which point Jeffrey Rosen became acting attorney general. 

Giuliani also has played a role in the second impeachment, and was quoted during this week's trial urging 'trial by combat' at a Trump rally before the MAGA riot in the Capitol. 

No comments:

Post a comment