The assertion this week by former SDNY prosecutor Mimi Rocah that personal Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani is “up to his eyeballs in crime” increasingly seems quite on point. Now, The New York Times and Washington Post are reporting that while Giuliani targeted Ukraine with demands for an investigation of the Bidens throughout recent months, he was also spending months on end pursuing lucrative financial deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He’s long worked as a lawyer and consultant for clients all over the globe, and in this case, he was apparently pursuing that kind of work and its accompanying financial kickbacks involving the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice and former top Ukrainian prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko.
The Times explains that there’s even “at least one retainer agreement, on his company letterhead, that he signed” involving a planned agreement with the Justice Ministry for him to try and help them recover money they “believed had been stolen and stashed overseas.” Although the deal never went through, Giuliani had been set to earn $300,000 for that, which suggests deeply rooted conflicts of interest. Adding to that, Giuliani “had been working with Mr. Lutsenko to encourage investigations into the Bidens and the 2016 election,” The Times says.
Giuliani claims that it’s all no big deal, and supposedly, the Ukrainians even initiated the whole endeavor, but the publication explains that this exact area is what’s ensnared Giuliani in an ongoing federal criminal investigation into whether he illegally mingled his personal, business, and political interests. Prosecutors are “examining his role in the campaign to oust Marie L. Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine, and whether he sought to make money in Ukraine at the same time he was working against her, according to people briefed on the matter.”
Besides financial entanglements, they’re looking — more specifically — into whether Giuliani brought secret advocacy for Ukrainian officials like Lutsenko into his other work in the U.S.
His associates sure did — the now federally criminally charged Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas pressured then-Texas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions to try and get Yovanovitch fired in part because Lutsenko wanted her out. This week, a federal subpoena for records from Giuliani’s consulting work was revealed, and the demands were, in fact, quite specific.
The revelations raise even more questions about just what the real scope is of what Giuliani has been doing while working with the president. Just this week — perhaps conscious of the legal vulnerability that he’s in thanks to the scandals — President Donald Trump distanced himself from Giuliani, asserting that he (supposedly) didn’t even know what the lawyer was doing in Ukraine. In reality, Trump himself is on record raising the same hoped for investigations that Giuliani was after while talking with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The issues are at the center of the ongoing impeachment inquiry from House Democrats. After recently concluding their first round of public hearings, which were led by the Intelligence Committee, the Judiciary Committee has set another hearing for December 4 as the process continues towards possible formal articles of impeachment.