2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: President Donald Trump delivers a speech at a NYPD event in Bedminster, NJ 2/2
(Reuters) – Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani denied on Thursday representing a Ukrainian national, a day after federal agents searched his Manhattan apartment and office as part of an investigation into his business in Ukraine. Giuliani said agents seized seven or eight electronic devices and that the search warrant included an accusation that he had not registered as a foreign agent, a violation of lobbying laws. “I have never represented a Ukrainian citizen before the US government,” Giuliani said in an interview on Fox News. Federal prosecutors have been investigating Giuliani for nearly a year and a half for his business dealings in Ukraine while serving as Trump’s attorney. He has not been formally charged with any crime. Trump criticized the federal investigation into Giuliani on Thursday. “It’s very, very unfair,” Trump told Fox Business Network in a telephone interview. “Rudy is a patriot who loves this country and I don’t know what they are looking for, what they are doing. They said it had to do with the presentation of various papers.” A spokesman for the former Republican president said in February that Giuliani was not representing Trump on any current legal matters. Giuliani played a central role in Trump’s failed effort to reverse his 2020 electoral defeat based on false claims of massive voter fraud. Wednesday’s search marked a significant step in the investigators’ investigation. A 2019 grand jury subpoena for Giuliani’s financial records seen by Reuters showed agents were examining possible money laundering, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, false statements, obstruction of justice, and violations of the federal Money Laundering Act. registration of foreign agents. It marks the latest twist for Giuliani, the former New York mayor who rose to national prominence after the September 11, 2001 attacks and who once headed the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan that is now investigating him. Giuliani began representing Trump in 2018 amid a federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won. Before the 2020 election, Giuliani led an effort to unearth Democratic contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine. Biden defeated Trump and took office earlier this year. Both Biden and his son have denied wrongdoing. Giuliani was warned by the FBI in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods aimed at politically damaging Biden, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, did not immediately return a request for comment on the Post’s story. Costello said Wednesday that authorities had seized cell phones and computers and, along with Giuliani’s son Andrew, suggested that his client’s investigation was politically motivated, a charge the White House denied. Biden said Thursday he had no news of the Justice Department’s actions and was keeping his campaign promise to maintain his independence. “I made a promise,” he told NBC News in an interview. “I wouldn’t interfere in any way … I found out about that last night when the rest of the world found out.” Giuliani faces separate legal actions regarding his actions surrounding the November elections and the January 6 deadly attack on the United States Capitol by Trump supporters, one from a Democratic congressman and one from the company of voting machines Dominion Voting Systems.