Rudy Giuliani’s bad week keeps getting worse. After federal authorities arrested two Ukrainian-born businessmen with close ties to the former New York City Mayor on charges of violating campaign finance law, federal prosecutors in New York are reportedly investigating Giuliani for possible violations of federal lobbying laws, The New York Times reported late Friday. According to one legal expert, Trump is now facing a greater threat to his presidency than that posed by the Russia-Mueller scandal.
The latest investigation is reportedly focused on what role Giuliani played in having former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch recalled from her post in May, and whether that decision was part of a broader scheme designed to pressure Ukraine to provide political assistance for President Donald Trump. The probe is also linked to the recently arrested Ukrainian businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both of whom worked with Giuliani and his associates to collect and spread damaging information on Yovanovitch and Trump’s political rival Joe Biden.
For a president already facing an intensifying impeachment inquiry, the launching of a criminal investigation into his personal attorney only amplified the fallout stemming from the Ukraine scandal.
According to Ross Garber, one of the nation’s leading impeachment attorneys, the Giuliani situation stands to have enormous consequences for the President, whose only option at this point is to completely sever his professional and social ties to Giuliani, effective immediately.
“Rudy had dealings with officials at the State Department and the White House, including Trump himself, about matters at the heart of the SDNY probe. This is a criminal investigation that poses a risk to the President and his administration more serious than the [Robert] Mueller probe,” Garber wrote Friday night.
“I spent a lot of time lowering expectations for the Mueller probe and the follow-on House inquiry. This Ukraine/Rudy situation is much more dangerous to Trump and his administration, which is exacerbated by the fact that he and his team are acting like they don’t realize this. The key questions, which [administration] officials should expect to answer for Congressional investigators and before a grand jury, relate to the motives for their actions re Ukraine and their communications about the motives of the President,” he tweeted.
Garber noted that Trump’s awareness of Giuliani’s actions will play an integral role in how the investigation effects the House’s impeachment inquiry.
“If Trump is surprised by this, he should fire Giuliani before the end of the weekend. If he’s not, he’s in big[ger] trouble. (Although he has big troubles either way.) Also, Giuliani should resign.
The attorney also took a moment to offer a bit of free legal advice to others in the White House with ties to Giuliani.
“If you’re a Trump administration official and you’ve had any dealings with Rudy, you should have already met with your personal lawyer today,” he wrote. “If you haven’t, now’s a good time to go ‘grab a snack at Starbucks.’”
[Image via DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]