Federal authorities' probe into former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's dealings with Ukrainian officials during the Trump administration appeared to significantly ramp up Wednesday as investigators executed a search warrant at Giuliani's home and office.
Prosecutors have spent months investigating Giuliani's role in pushing former President Donald Trump, who retained Giuliani as his personal lawyer, to fire Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine.
Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general for the Department of Justice, tweeted that the execution of a warrant at Giuliani's home and the seizure of his electronic devices represents an extaordinary step in the probe.
I doubt this has ever happened before — a former US Attorney having his residence searched in an investigation conducted by the office he once headed. A judge had to conclude that there was probable cause that evidence of crime(s) would be found there. https://t.co/i4lgrjrSxP
— Michael R. Bromwich (@mrbromwich) April 28, 2021
"A judge had to conclude that there was probable cause that evidence of crime(s) would be found there," tweeted Bromwich.
Michael Cohen, a former lawyer and "fixer" for Trump, also weighed in on the search warrant.
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"Here we go, folks!" Cohen tweeted.
The federal case against Giuliani began with his trip to Ukraine in 2019, when he sought to unearth damaging information about President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Giuliani reportedly saw Yovanovitch as an obstacle to efforts to try to help Trump win the 2020 election by attacking Biden with Ukrainian intelligence. Investigators have also examined whether Giuliani pushed Trump to oust the ambassador on behalf of Ukrainian officials. A prosecutor in Ukraine told Giuliani that he had damaging information about Yovanovitch.
If Giuliani discussed ousting Yovanovitch with Ukrainian officials for their own reasons, that could constitute a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, under which it is a federal crime to influence the U.S. government on behalf of a foreign official without disclosing the activity to the DOJ.
Under the Trump administration, federal agents were repeatedly blocked from obtaining warrants to search Giuliani's home, office, and electronics.