Trump backs Rudy Giuliani after report says president’s lawyer is under investigation


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Two associates of Giuliani have been charged with funneling foreign money to U.S. political campaigns, and President Trump says he doesn’t know them. USA TODAY

President Donald Trump on Saturday acknowledged news reports that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani may be under investigation by federal investigators, calling the reported probe “shameful.” 

“So now they are after the legendary ‘crime buster’ and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer. Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!”

Trump’s comments come after news broke Friday in The New York Times that federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani for potential lobbying law violations as it relates to his work in Ukraine. The Times, citing two anonymous people “familiar with the inquiry,” reported the probe focuses on Giuliani’s efforts to “undermine” former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch, who testified before three House committees Friday in the impeachment inquiry of Trump.

The investigation of Giuliani is also, the Times reports, linked to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Ukrainian-born business partners arrested Wednesday in connection with alleged schemes to funnel foreign money to U.S. political campaigns. Parnas and Fruman helped Giuliani meet former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko as the president’s personal lawyer pushed for an investigation into Trump’s political rival Joe Biden.

Trump and Giuliani: Donald Trump distances himself from Rudy Giuliani: ‘He has been my attorney’

The impeachment inquiry of Trump, which is tied to the president’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rivals like Biden, has drawn attention to Giuliani and whether his activities in Ukraine violate a federal law that requires Americans who work on behalf of foreign governments to register with the Justice Department.

Giuliani defended himself against such a crime by claiming to the Times he was working for Trump, not a foreign government.

“Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Giuliani told the Times.

Representatives for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman did not immediately respond to inquiries from USA TODAY.

This story will be updated. 

Contributing: Kristine Phillips, Kevin Johnson, Bart Jansen and Kevin McCoy.

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