Legal Expert: Giuliani’s Ukraine Investigation ‘Likely Illegal’


Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York and President Donald Trump‘s most visible personal attorney during the Mueller investigation, confirmed on Thursday that he pushed the Ukrainian government, with help from the State Department, to search for evidence of collusion between Ukrainian officials, Joe Biden, and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). More specifically, he claimed he was looking to see if the DNC worked with Ukrainian officials to dig up dirt on Trump’s former campaign chairman and twice-convicted felon Paul Manafort, and by extension, harm Trump’s 2016 campaign.

In a move that raise the eyebrows of legal experts, Giuliani has met Ukrainian officials in Madrid. He’s reportedly been investigating Hunter Biden (Joe’s son) and his investments in a Ukranian natural gas company.

Giuliani has reportedly been speaking to Andriy Yermak, a lawyer for President Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s unclear how aware President Trump is of Giuliani’s activities, though Giuliani told the New York Times in May that “[Trump] basically knows what I’m doing, sure, as his lawyer,” with regard to his investigation.

“[The New York] Times completely turned a story about astounding allegations of serious crimes of state concerning Dems into a piece trying to suggest I did something nefarious except they can’t say what it is,” Giuliani said to NBC News, regarding reporting of his investigation. He also confirmed that the state department helped him connect with Yermak.

Outside of his claim that the DNC colluded with Ukrainian officials regarding Manafort, he also spent time questioning Joe Biden’s call for Ukraine to remove Viktor Shokin, a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma Holdings, the company his son was on the board of.

For some legal experts, Giuliani’s behavior and method of investigation is “incredibly troubling.”

“The confirmation by Rudy Guiliani, as a lawyer for the President of the United States, that he engaged in direct conversations with foreign government officials to persuade or encourage that country to investigate U.S. political rivals is incredibly troubling,” Mark Zaid, a Washington, D.C. national security attorney, told Law&Crime. “Not only might it cross the line into illegality, but it certainly further creates a foul smell into the activities of the Trump Administration, particularly since it involved State Department efforts.”

Zaid would add that this is “the type of situation where Congress, in a bipartisan fashion, should be investigating as part of its oversight authority of any presidential administration.”

Mimi Rocah, a former prosecutor for the Southern District Court of New York and current MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, said Giuliani’s investigation seemed “highly unethical and likely illegal.”

Other legal experts appeared to agree with that assessment.

For his part, Giuliani spent much of Thursday firing off conspiratorial tweets and calling out the left for spreading a “9/11 conspiracy” about him.



[Photo via Fox News Screenshot]

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