The Slatest

Trump Defends Giuliani Amid Reports He Is Under Criminal Investigation

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attends the signing of HR 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th victim compensation fund by US President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 2019.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attends the signing of HR 1327, an act to permanently authorize the September 11th victim compensation fund by US President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 2019.
SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

President Donald Trump came out in defense of his attorney Rudy Giuliani on Saturday amid reports that federal prosecutors in Manhattan have launched a criminal investigation into the former mayor. The prosecutors are looking into whether Giuliani “broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine,” reports the New York Times. The Times hears word that the prosecutors are looking into Giuliani’s “efforts to undermine the American ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.”

Hours after the Times published its report, Trump took to Twitter to celebrate his attorney, calling him a “legendary crime buster” and “wonderful lawyer.” Even though Giuliani “may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes” he is still “a great guy” and “wonderful lawyer,” Trump wrote.

The tweets defending his lawyer were quite the change in tune from a day earlier, when Trump said “I don’t know” to the question of whether Giuliani was still his lawyer. Giuliani said he was still the president’s lawyer. “He hasn’t told me otherwise,” Giuliani told USA Today.

The alleged investigation into Giuliani is related to his two associates and Trump donors who were arrested Wednesday night on campaign finance charges. The men, Ukraine-born Lev Parnas and Belarus-born Igor Fruman, helped Giuliani investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. And they’re accused of funneling money to a congressman to help remove Yovanovitch from her post.

On Friday, Yovanovitch told House of Representatives committees that are investigating Trump she was ousted from her post in May due to pressure from the president.
Yovanovitch said she was removed following a “concerted campaign against me” which she said was led by Giuliani. Now prosecutors are probing whether Giuliani violated laws that require American citizens to disclose whether they are conducting work on behalf of foreign politicians or governments. But Giuliani insists he was acting on behalf of Trump and not Ukrainian officials. “I never did any lobbying for anyone. If they want to ask me I’m happy to prove it. But they haven’t,” Giuliani said. The Times notes it is unclear how far the investigation has progressed and whether prosecutors have decided to file additional charges.