U.S. federal agents seized electronic devices in daybreak raids Wednesday at the New York home and office of Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor who became former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, as investigators probe Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine linked to Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.
Robert Costello, Giuliani’s lawyer, confirmed that agents had executed a search warrant for the two Giuliani locations, but condemned the raids.
“What they did today was legal thuggery,” Costello told The New York Times. “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?”
The long-running investigation conducted by U.S. prosecutors in New York centers on whether Giuliani, an outspoken Trump political supporter and adviser last year, acted illegally as an unregistered foreign agent and sought to influence U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
Giuliani, ahead of the November election that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden, sought information in Ukraine that might have been damaging to then-candidate Biden, especially as it related to the lucrative payments made to his son, Hunter Biden, for his work on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company. At the same time, the elder Biden oversaw U.S. policy on Ukraine when he was vice president under former President Barack Obama.
Investigators are also looking at the role Giuliani played in Trump’s eventual ouster of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who testified about her experiences during the Trump administration at Trump’s first impeachment case in the House of Representatives.
As part of the pressure campaign to investigate then-candidate Biden’s activities in Ukraine, Trump personally appealed to Ukraine’s president in a July 2019 phone call to provide damaging evidence about Biden and his son, leading to the first of Trump’s two impeachments.
The Democratic-controlled House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but he was later acquitted in the then-Republican-controlled Senate.