FBI Raided Rudy Giuliani’s Home as Part of Investigation into Trump’s Firing of U.S. Ambassador
UPDATE: The Washington Post has issued a substantial correction to a story cited in this article. Initially, the Post reported that the FBI warned Rudy Giuliani and One America News Network that they were the targets of a Russian disinformation campaign. In a corrected version of the story, the Post now says the FBI planned to warn Giuliani and OANN, but did not actually do so. This article has been changed to reflect the correction.
The New York Times article cited below also reported the erroneous claim that Giuliani had been briefed by the FBI. However, that part of the Times’ reporting was not included in this article.
On Thursday night, The Washington Post and The New York Times broke separate though perhaps related pieces of reporting surrounding Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, whose Upper East Side home was raided and searched by the FBI earlier in the day. The reports capped off whirlwind day for the former mayor of New York City.
First, the Post reported that in late 2019 the FBI was planning to warn Giuliani that he was the target of a Russian influence campaign designed to amplify disinformation about then presidential candidate Joe Biden. In addition to Giuliani, the FBI similarly planned to warn right wing media outlet One America News Network, that it was also a target.
Shortly after that story dropped, the Times published reporting of its own indicating that the search of Giuliani’s home was part of an investigation into his possible role in the firing of Marie Yovanovitch as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May 2019. Giuliani had sought Yovanovitch’s removal, and this termination became an integral part of the first impeachment trial of then President Trump, who was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Specifically, Trump, during a conversation about U.S. aid with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, said, “I would like you to do us a favor,” and requested that Zelensky investigate possible wrongdoing by members of Biden’s family, particularly Hunter Biden, who had served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.
Giuliani’s motives for seeking Yovanovitch’s ouster are unclear, as is who – if anyone – put him up to it. As the Times explains,
At issue for investigators is a key question: Did Mr. Giuliani go after Ms. Yovanovitch solely on behalf of Mr. Trump, who was his client at the time? Or was he also doing so on behalf of the Ukrainian officials, who wanted her removed for their own reasons?
It is a violation of federal law to lobby the United States government on behalf of foreign officials without registering with the Justice Department, and Mr. Giuliani never did so.
Even if the Ukrainians did not pay Mr. Giuliani, prosecutors could pursue the theory that they provided assistance by collecting information on the Bidens in exchange for her removal.
On Thursday night, Giuliani appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News for a bizarre interview in which he gave his personal account of the raid and search earlier in the day. He said he was in possession of Hunter Biden’s hard drive and that he offered it to agents, who declined to take it. Giuliani also said the warrant was “completely illegal” while incorrectly claiming that “the only way you can get a search warrant is if you can show that there is some evidence that the person is going to destroy the evidence. Or is going to run away with the evidence.”
He added, “And they also got it from the iCloud!” while pointing his thumb skyward.
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