Federal prosecutors are ramping things up in an investigation related to President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, The Wall Street Journal reports, and there may be a whole bunch of charges awaiting people involved, though it's not clear why Giuliani personally falls under the microscope.
Subpoenas have been issued to people with ties to Giuliani and his associates, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, as part of an investigation led by the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office and the FBI. Fruman and Parnas, two Soviet-born American businessmen who have allegedly aided Giuliani in his quest to find compromising information on Trump's political opponents in Ukraine, have already been hit with campaign finance charges, to which they've pleaded not guilty.
The latest round of subpoenas reportedly seek information on Giuliani's security-consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, which the former New York City mayor founded in 2002, and a company founded by Parnas that paid Giuliani for business and legal advice. Giuliani said he was not contacted by prosecutors himself and denies any wrongdoing.
Among the charges reportedly under consideration in the subpoenas are obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one's name to make a contribution, along with mail fraud and wire fraud. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell
Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan did not demur when facing what appeared to be significant line of questioning during his Senate confirmation hearing for the role of U.S. ambassador to Russia on Wednesday.
During the hearing, Sullivan admitted to Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) that he was aware there was a "campaign against" former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and he believed President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was one of the people behind it.
This is stunning. The US deputy secretary of state, on live television, acknowledges Giuliani was trying to take down the US ambassador in Ukraine.
He also says a White House official circulated a dossier of misinformation in aid of that smear campaign. pic.twitter.com/xEgToFVWEM
Sullivan also told lawmakers he was aware of a packet which has previously been said to contain "propaganda" and "disinformation" targeting Yovanovitch, who was ousted in April, that was sent to the State Department, saying he didn't think it provided a "basis for us taking action against our ambassador." Still, he said he didn't, at the time, speak up in support of Yovanovitch, and instead passed the packet along to the State Department inspector general as a precaution. Sullivan told Menendez he was not aware if Giuliani was behind the packet, but his overall candidness wasn't a great look for the former New York City mayor, either way. Read more at The Hill. Tim O'Donnell
Put differently: America's no.2 diplomat publicly acknowledges that the president's lawyer is running a shadow foreign policy with help from inside the White House.