WASHINGTON: Former US president Donald Trump on Thursday criticised the federal investigation into Rudy Giuliani and said he had no idea what US agents were looking for when they searched his former personal lawyer’s Manhattan apartment and office.
Federal prosecutors have been investigating Giuliani for nearly 1-1/2 years, including a 2019 grand jury subpoena seen by Reuters for his financial records as part of an inquiry into possible money laundering, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, making false statements and obstruction of justice, in addition to foreign agent allegations.
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, once led the Southern District of New York now investigating his Ukrainian business dealings while serving as Trump’s attorney. He has not formally been accused of any wrongdoing.
“It’s very, very unfair,” Trump, a Republican, told Fox Business Network in a telephone interview.
“Rudy is a patriot who loves this country and I don’t know what they’re looking for, what they’re doing. They said it had to do with the filing of various papers. Rudy loves this country so much.”
Giuliani’s lawyer, Bob Costello, said on Wednesday authorities had seized cell phones and computers. The search warrants included an allegation that Giuliani violated lobbying laws by failing to register as a foreign agent, an allegation he denies, Costello said.
Giuliani began representing Trump in 2018 amid a federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won.
Ahead of the 2020 election, Giuliani led an effort to dig up dirt on then-Democratic contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine. Biden defeated Trump and took office earlier this year. Both Biden and his son have denied wrongdoing.
Giuliani’s lawyer, in his statement Wednesday, suggested the investigation of his client was politically motivated – a charge the White House denied.
“The DOJ is independent now,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN on Thursday, referring to the Department of Justice. The White House did not receive any notice that Giuliani’s apartment would be raided, she added.
Giuliani faces separate legal actions regarding his actions surrounding the November 2020 election and the deadly Jan 6 mob attack on the US Capitol – one from a Democratic congressman and another from voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems.