Donald Trump‘s allies are deeply troubled by Wednesday’s raid on his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s apartment, it has been claimed.
Their fears emerged as a transcript of a conversation between Giuliani and a Ukrainian official was published, laying bare what seems to be the substance of the FBI’s investigation into the former New York City mayor.
Giuliani’s Manhattan home was targeted in a dawn raid orchestrated by New York prosecutors, who for the last two years have been looking into whether Giuliani acted illegally when working on Ukraine.
The work was looking into whether Joe Biden had acted improperly when pressuring Ukraine’s then-president to fire their chief prosecutor. He was also looking for ‘dirt’ on Joe’s son Hunter.
A transcript of his July 2019 call which seemed to be the start of the investigation was published by BuzzFeed on Friday.
Rudy Giuliani, speaking at the rally before the Capitol riot on January 6, had his home raided
Trump tasked Giuliani with looking for ‘dirt’ on Hunter and Joe Biden in Ukraine
Giuliani’s own actions may, it is thought, have fallen foul of lobbying and registration rules. He insists that he has acted properly at all times.
On Friday CNN reported that members of Trump’s inner circle were worried about who may be next – or what Giuliani could say.
‘This was a show of force that sent a strong message to a lot of people in Trump’s world that other things may be coming down the pipeline,’ one Trump adviser told CNN.
Seven FBI agents turned up at dawn, and seized Giuliani’s electronic devices.
Rudy Giuliani’s Upper East Side home was raided at 6am on Wednesday
Rudy Giuliani’s apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan
Federal investigators executed a search warrant Wednesday on Rudy Giuliani’s New York City apartment and office, seizing electronic devices. Giuliani is pictured after the raid on his home
He said on Thursday night that the seizure was overly dramatic and unnecessary, as he had repeatedly volunteered to hand over the devices himself.
Michael Cohen: Giuliani is an ‘idiot’ who will turn on Trump – and Trump will not hesitate to ‘throw him under the bus’
Michael Cohen has said Rudy Giuliani ‘would give Donald Trump up in a heartbeat’ after federal agents raided the former New York City mayor’s home and office.
Speaking to CNN Thursday, Trump’s former fixer called Giuliani an ‘idiot’ who has ‘no relationship’ with the ex president, who, he says, operates in a ‘garbage can orbit’.
Federal agents raided the 76-year-old’s apartment Wednesday, taking with them his electronic devices including computers and cellphones.
After news of the raid broke Wednesday, Cohen – who was also subject of a federal raid and would eventually plead guilty to eight federal counts – tweeted: ‘Here we go folks.’
He said Thursday: ‘He’s [Giuliani] nervous and rightfully so. Rudy will give up Donald in a heartbeat. Donald will throw anyone and everyone under the bus.
‘Rudy has been shady for a long time.
‘We have no idea how expansive this investigation is going to ultimately reveal itself, because Rudy’s an idiot. And that’s the problem.
‘Rudy drinks too much. Rudy behaves in such an erratic manner, that, who knows what’s on those telephones or what’s on his computers?’
Cohen was convicted in 2018 of campaign finance violations while working as Trump’s personal attorney – he was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to nine charges.
Less than a year after his sentencing, Cohen was released from Otisville Correctional Facility in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic on compassionate grounds.
He has been confined to his Trump Park Avenue apartment in Lenox Hill ever since July 2020.
The Trump adviser told CNN the raid seemed to suggest, worryingly for many, that Justice Department officials could be more willing to pursue investigations into his presidency than they had previously believed.
Two other members of Trump’s inner circle told CNN they agreed with that assessment.
They also expressed concern about what Giuliani might say or do.
‘Even the most loyal people have their breaking point,’ said a person close to the former president.
‘I think we’ve seen some more surprising instances of things like that happening, especially with Michael Cohen.’
Cohen, who was Trump’s long time ‘fixer’ and attorney, began cooperating with prosecutors in 2018, served prison time, and has become one of Trump’s fiercest critics,
Cohen told CNN on Wednesday he believed Giuliani would ‘give up Donald in a heartbeat’ if faced with an indictment.
‘Prior to Donald becoming president, Rudy didn’t like Donald and Donald didn’t like Rudy,’ Cohen claimed. ‘He certainly doesn’t want to follow my path down into a 36-month sentence.’
The concern among Trump’s confidantes comes as the transcript of the July 2019 call between Giuliani and a Ukrainian official was made public.
The call is between Giuliani and Andriy Yermak, who at the time was newly-elected President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top foreign policy advisor. Yermak is now Zelensky’s chief of staff.
Giuliani attempts, on the call, to establish a working relationship between Kiev and Washington DC – bypassing the usual State Department channels to speak directly for Trump, although he is at pains to emphasize that he cannot speak for his boss.
He is particularly emphatic that the new president should investigate Biden, who, while serving as vice president, had pushed for the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.
Shokin, who was seen with suspicion in the West, was fired in March 2016, as part of an anti-corruption initiative developed by the State Department and coordinated with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Giuliani seeks an investigation, and wants Zelensky to publicly accuse Biden.
He also wants Ukraine to investigate possible interference in the election, and back the idea that Ukraine – not Russia – could have tried to tip the scales in favor of Trump.
‘All we need from the president is to say: I’m gonna put an honest prosecutor in charge, he’s gonna investigate and dig up the evidence, that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election,’ Giuliani tells Yermak.
‘And then the Biden thing has to be run out.’
Volodymyr Zelensky took over as Ukraine’s president in May 2019
Zelensky is pictured on April 26, speaking at the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident
Giuliani says: ‘He offered Poroshenko a $1.2 billion loan guarantee, critical to Poroshenko’s success as president, in exchange for getting rid of a prosecutor general, that he didn’t wanna get rid of.
‘Somebody in Ukraine’s gotta take that seriously.’
Trump is pictured speaking at CPAC in February
Giuliani then turns to Hunter Biden’s energy firm, Burisma.
As part of a campaign to discredit Joe Biden and accuse him of influence peddling, Giuliani was keen for details of Hunter’s work on the board of the company.
‘That investigation of Burisma has been started, discontinued, started and discontinued about three times,’ Giuliani complained.
He also issued a bizarre warning to the new president, via his aide, saying: ‘What I wanted to tell the president is: be careful.
‘Probably it’s a little arrogant to say that. I shouldn’t say that about being careful.
‘But just as a person interested: be careful of the people around you, because… they can very easily… they can very easily get you into trouble.’
He did not provide more detail.
He did, however, say he was concerned that some people around Zelensky were not Trump supporters.
‘I don’t to speak for the President, I’ll speak as his friend,’ said Giuliani.
‘To see some people around him (Zelensky), who aren’t just opposed to the President (Trump), but said some very, very personal nasty things about him (Trump) is… is trouble.’
Trump and Giuliani, two New Yorkers who have known each other for decades, in August 2020
He concluded: ‘That gets kinda personal and it interferes with a really good… really good relationship.’
Giuliani then circles back twice to the idea that Trump would like Zelensky to publicly announce an inquiry into Biden’s activities.
‘I think that it’d be very, very helpful in clearing this up, if the President (Zelensky) at some point could say something publicly,’ Giuliani said.
‘If he could make some statement at the right time. That he supports a fair, honest law enforcement system.
‘And that these investigations go, wherever they have to go.’
The latest Giuliani revelations come a day after sources told The New York Times that the probe is looking into the firing of former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
The paper was told that feds are looking into whether Giuliani got then-President Donald Trump to fire Yovanovitch to please Ukrainian officials.
She is said to have caused ripples with her hardline stance on rooting out Ukrainian corruption.
The Times highlighted that if Giuliani orchestrated her firing to please Ukrainian officials, he may have broken US laws about lobbying foreign officials.
Trump’s first impeachment saw him accused of trying to coax Ukrainian officials into giving him embarrassing details on Joe and Hunter Biden.
Giuliani denies all allegations of impropriety.