Federal prosecutors in New York were pursuing an investigation related to Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, as the Senate’s impeachment trial was concluding, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The investigation, run out of the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, is focused on the activities of Giuliani and his two former associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
The three are known to have been engaged in a shadow campaign to oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, whose anti-corruption stance they viewed as an obstacle to Trump’s efforts to pressure Kyiv to investigate his political rivals.
People familiar with the investigation told the Post that prosecutors recently sought information related to Yovanovitch and inquired about two companies with ties to Parnas.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
The recent moves to advance the probe, which included an interview with a witness last week, suggest the Giuliani-linked investigation that is also focused on two of the lawyer’s former associates is advancing even as the Justice Department opens a channel for Giuliani to submit information regarding his personal inquiry into former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine.
Giuliani has railed against the New York prosecutors’ probe, saying it is pursuing the “most unfair, vindictive investigation they have ever conducted.”
“I believe that the leaks and the investigation is intended to intimidate me as the president’s lawyer,” Giuliani told the Post in December. “I am fully confident that I did not commit any crimes of any kind.”
The news that the investigation is proceeding comes as the Justice Department is under intense scrutiny over allegations of political influence from Trump.
Those worries intensified after the agency recommended a sentence shorter than the one it had first proposed for Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative and Trump associate. The reversal came after the president slammed the first recommendation as overly harsh on Twitter.
Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that Trump never asked him to act in a criminal case, including Stone’s, but that tweets about the Department of Justice and its employees “make it impossible to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we are doing our work with integrity.”