The New York Times reports that the Justice Department’s investigation into Rudy Giuliani is focusing on his campaign to get then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired in 2019, which was at the center of ex-President Donald Trump’s efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden at the time.
According to the Times, at least one of the search warrants that was used to seize Guliani’s electronics at his home and office on Wednesday sought to find the lawyer’s communications with Trump administration officials about Yovanovitch prior to her ouster, along with his communications with Ukrainian officials who had conflicts with the ambassador and her anti-corruption policy.
The DOJ is reportedly looking at whether the lawyer, who is under investigation for potential foreign lobbying law violations, led the smear campaign against Yovanovitch just to help his-then client Trump find dirt on Biden, or if he also did so to help the Ukrainian officials who wanted her gone, such as former top prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.
Giuliani’s efforts to get Yovanovitch removed from her post were central to House Democrats’ impeachment probe into Trump’s scheme to pressure the president of Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, in an effort to damage his soon-to-be challenger in the 2020 presidential elections.
In fact, during the impeachment proceedings in 2019, Giuliani explicitly tied his crusade to get Yovanovitch fired to Trump: He told the New York Times that he had convinced Trump to oust Yovanovitch by telling him that she was getting in the way of the lawyer’s push to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings in the country.
Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing amid the DOJ’s investigation.