Rudy Giuliani began the week hot, with an advance piece of guerrilla marketing for a potential podcast that would “analyze the impeachment in every aspect.” But by the week’s end, the news cycle wasn’t looking as good: Late on Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Giuliani is under federal investigation for possible campaign-finance violations, as well as a failure to register as a foreign agent.
Aside from throwing off his prospective show, the timing isn’t great: The president’s lawyer is the subject of a criminal investigation and a counterintelligence investigation for his dealings in Ukraine. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Justice Department in D.C. are looking into his business dealings in the country, while the FBI is evaluating if his actions have been willingly or unwillingly influenced by a foreign government.
The new investigation will determine if Giuliani violated laws against bribing foreign officials. Former federal prosecutor Kenneth McCallion told Bloomberg that it’s possible Giuliani could face an extortion charge for his role in pressuring Ukraine into investigating Hunter Biden and a conspiracy theory about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. McCallion added that a charge like that could implicate the president in a criminal activity, though he could not be charged while in office.
Unlike the prior investigations, in which no indictments have been handed down, four of Giuliani’s associates have already been charged with campaign-finance violations. Giuliani’s clients, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were indicted in early October for hiding the source of a $325,000 donation to the super-PAC America First. Then came the arrest of California businessman Andrey Kukushkin, who worked with Parnas and Fruman to move $10,000 of foreign money into Nevada politics in order to help a Russian businessman obtain commercial marijuana licenses. And on October 16, David Correia was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Nevada scheme. That prosecutors have pursued four of his associates for campaign-finance violations should concern Giuliani: “I would not be surprised if he gets indicted,” former SDNY prosecutor Mimi Rocah told Bloomberg.
Further bad news: Though the president has retained Giuliani as his personal lawyer throughout the Ukraine scandal, GOP lawmakers are reportedly pressing Trump to ditch him in order to create some distance between himself and Giuliani’s efforts to push the quid pro quo in Ukraine. “Rudy will be cut loose because he was rogue,” one Republican told Axios.