Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are investigating whether Ukrainian officials attempted to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, with their plan involving using Rudy Giuliani to spread false claims about President Biden as a way of boosting former President Donald Trump, people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times.
The criminal inquiry started during the end of the Trump administration, the people said, and at least one of the Ukrainians being investigated is linked to Russian intelligence. This is a separate probe from the federal investigation in Manhattan that is looking at Giuliani, and he is not a subject of the Brooklyn inquiry, the Times reports. A spokesman for the United States attorney's office in Brooklyn declined to comment to the Times.
As part of the Brooklyn investigation, prosecutors and the FBI are focused on current and former Ukrainian officials suspected of using different channels to spread claims of corruption about Biden. One person being used to amplify the message was Giuliani, the Times reports, who at the time was Trump's personal lawyer.
As part of the probe, investigators are looking at a trip Giuliani took to Europe in December 2019, as part of an effort to undermine Biden. He met with Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian member of parliament now under economic sanctions by the United States. The Treasury Department said Derkach has been "an active Russian agent for over a decade." Giuliani's lawyer, Robert J. Costello, defended his client's trip to Ukraine, telling the Times, "When you investigate allegations of corruption, you talk to all sorts of people; some are credible, and some are not." Read more at The New York Times.