The Trump administration rejected repeated requests from Manhattan federal prosecutors to search Rudy Giuliani’s records, the New York Times reports.
Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York wanted to issue a search warrant for Giuliani’s emails and other communications last summer, the Times reported, as part of the office’s probe into Giuliani’s dealings related to Trump’s first impeachment.
But senior DOJ leadership under Trump nixed the request, initially saying that they didn’t want the probe to interfere with the election. Notably, that response came outside of the 60-day window before an election during which federal prosecutors traditionally avoid taking overt steps in politically sensitive cases.
Manhattan feds needed approval from DOJ leadership because Giuliani is an attorney, meaning that any warrant could inadvertently seize privileged materials.
After the election, the Times reports, the prosecutors came back, and were rebuffed again. In November, DOJ officials told the Manhattan feds that since the election result had not been settled, the request could not go forward.
That kicked the can down the road to the Biden administration. It’s not clear whether the new leadership has approved the request.
Federal prosecutors are investigating conduct relating to Giuliani’s involvement in Trump’s first scheme to rig the 2020 election: pressuring the Ukrainian government to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden.
That effort saw Giuliani work with an array of shady figures from the Eastern European nation to spur the creation of dirt on Biden. In some cases, Giuliani also pursued private business deals with them.
It’s not clear whether any of those deals came to fruition. Prosecutors have reportedly examined whether foreign bribery or illegal lobbying charges could be applicable.