Brooklyn federal prosecutors are examining whether Ukrainians who fed disinformation about the Bidens to Rudy Giuliani to meddle in the 2020 election broke the law, the New York Times reports.
The criminal probe reportedly began in the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, and focuses on at least one Ukrainian who the U.S. government has described as an “active Russian agent.”
Though Giuliani is under investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors for alleged foreign lobbying law violations over his Ukraine business dealings, he is not a subject of the separate Brooklyn probe, according to the Times.One of the subjects of the Brooklyn investigation is reportedly Andrii Derkach, a U.S-sanctioned Ukrainian MP who met with Giuliani in Kyiv in December 2019 in Giuliani’s hunt for dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter.
The Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach in September 2020, accusing him of being an “active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services” who tried to meddle in the upcoming presidential elections.
Giuliani also has met and worked closely with Andrii Telizhenko, a bombastic and sanctioned Ukrainian political consultant who has never held a senior position in government, but has peddled claims that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. A Senate Intelligence Committee report said last year that Russian intelligence services were pushing that narrative to distract from its own meddling in the 2016 elections. Telizhenko did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.
The New York Times reported that it’s unclear if Telizhenko’s activities are also a focus of the Brooklyn federal probe. Neither Telizhenko nor Derkach have been charged with any wrongdoing.
One added irony to the new revelation in the Times is that then-Attorney General Bill Barr had created an unusual conduit between Giuliani and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for him to share his supposed Ukraine information. That same office appears to have subsequently launched its probe of Giuliani’s Ukranian contacts.
Giuliani’s December 2019 trip to Kyiv, during which he met several other Ukrainians besides Derkach, was part of the Brooklyn investigation at some point, the Times reports.
Robert J. Costello, Giuliani’s attorney, denied in a statement to the Times that his client had relied on false information in his efforts to find dirt on Biden.
“When you investigate allegations of corruption, you talk to all sorts of people; some are credible, and some are not,” Costello said.