Federal prosecutors executed a search warrant at the apartment of Rudy Giuliani, advancing its investigation into former President Trump’s personal lawyer and his dealings with Ukraine, The New York Times and other outlets reported Wednesday.
According to the Times, investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices, a significant development into the long-running investigation into whether the former New York mayor illegally lobbied the Trump administration on behalf of Ukrainian oligarchs.
Those same officials were aiding Giuliani in his search for dirt on Trump’s political rivals, including then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Authorities also searched the home of Giuliani associate Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and Republican operative, according to The Times.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI declined to comment on the matter.
Giuliani’s attorney, Robert J. Costello, did not immediately provide a comment to The Hill, but told the Times that the search was “legal thuggery.”
“Why would you do this to anyone, let alone someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States,” he told the newspaper.
Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported that officials entered the former New York City mayor’s apartment at 6 a.m. on Wednesday seeking communications between Giuliani and a number of people, including John Solomon, a former opinion columnist for The Hill.
Solomon wrote several columns regarding Ukraine that became a subject of the 2019 House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry against Trump. The Hill published a review of Solomon’s columns the following year and determined they lacked context and key disclosures.
Toensing and her husband, attorney and political commentator Joseph diGenova, represented Solomon. She also represented Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash. Firtash has been indicted on bribery, racketeering and campaign finance charges and was sought out by Giuliani as he looked for dirt on Biden.
The Hill has also requested comment from Toensing.
“This makes sense because, during the Ukraine impeachment investigation, we obtained draft retainer agreements between a Ukrainian official and Toensing and diGenova that Giuliani brokered,” Daniel Goldman, the former lead counsel for the first House impeachment inquiry, tweeted.
During the Trump administration, Justice Department officials repeatedly sought to block the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan from seeking a warrant for Giuliani’s phones.
The new warrant suggests federal prosecutors believe they have a compelling case. Prosecutors are only able to secure a warrant if they can convince a judge that a search is likely to produce evidence of a crime.
Giuliani never registered as a foreign agent for his work and has denied any wrongdoing.
“I do not lobby, I do not do foreign representation,” he told Roll Call in 2019.
However, those close to Giuliani have been arrested in connection with their work.
Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were both arrested and charged with campaign finance crimes for allegedly seeking to funnel money to U.S. politicians to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.
Giuliani took a trip to Ukraine in 2019 as part of an effort to make a documentary TV series pushing for an investigation intoPresident Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who previously sat on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. He argued the series would show Kyiv’s role and potential interference in the 2016 general election.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia sought to undermine the 2016 U.S. election. Hunter Biden is facing a federal probe into his taxes.
Giuliani also came under scrutiny for his role in ousting Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, from her post.
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