- President Donald Trump said on Friday that he doesn’t know if former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is still his personal attorney.
- “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Trump told reporters. “He has been my attorney.”
- Giuliani, however, replied, “yes,” when The Washington Post asked him if he was still representing the president.
- Trump’s efforts to distance himself from Giuliani come in the wake of reports that Giuliani is under federal investigation by prosecutors at the Southern District of New York.
- Two of Giuliani’s foreign associates were arrested and charged on Wednesday with campaign-finance violations, and prosecutors are now examining Giuliani’s relationship with the men.
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President Donald Trump appears to be distancing himself from his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, amid reports that Giuliani is under investigation by federal prosecutors at the Southern District of New York (SDNY).
“I don’t know,” Trump said Friday when reporters asked him if Giuliani was still his lawyer. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy … He has been my attorney.”
When The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey texted Giuliani asking him about Trump’s comments and if he was still representing the president, Giuliani replied, “Yes.”
Giuliani and Trump are at the centre of a public firestorm surrounding their efforts to get the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, ahead of the 2020 election.
On Wednesday, two of Giuliani’s foreign associates were arrested and charged by the FBI with campaign-finance violations.
The Soviet-born men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are suspected of trying to funnel foreign money into a pro-Trump super PAC and other entities to gain leverage in US political circles. Prosecutors also allege Parnas and Fruman tried to influence US-Ukraine relations.
Two of their associates, David Correira and Andrey Kukushkin, were also indicted along with Parnas and Fruman on Thursday.
Parnas and Fruman were directly involved in Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens, according to reports, and Giuliani has been working with them since at least March. On Friday, ABC News reported that federal prosecutors at the SDNY – the office Giuliani used to run – are scrutinizing the former New York mayor’s relationship with the two men.
Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens were at the centre of an explosive whistleblower complaint that a US intelligence official filed against Trump in August.
Among other things, the complainant alleged that the president abused his power to “solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election” during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Giuliani was mentioned 31 times in the complaint and is described as a “central figure” in Trump’s effort. The complaint said Attorney General William Barr “appears to be involved as well.”
Giuliani has said that he got involved in Trump’s efforts only after State Department officials asked him to do so. Text messages between several top US diplomats and Giuliani that were released last week confirmed Giuliani’s claim.
The whistleblower’s complaint is at the heart of a brewing congressional impeachment inquiry looking at whether Trump used his public office for private gain. House Democrats sent out a flurry of subpoenas and document requests, but the White House said earlier this week that it would not cooperate with what it views as a “partisan and unconstitutional” process.
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