As I reported earlier, federal authorities served a search warrant at the Manhattan apartment of Rudy Giuliani demanding that he turn over his electronic devices.
Now, more detail is in. The execution of this search warrant was apparently geared for maximum pain and embarrassment in media. Seven FBI agents came to Giuliani’s home at 6 a.m. and he handed over a phone, a laptop, and an iPad. Then multiple sources leaked about the raid to the media.
They appear to be looking into the question of lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian officials and not being registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But in general, that’s been considered something of a back-bencher “crime” to go after, so the reaction appears very excessive if that’s what they’re claiming.
Giuliani’s attorney said exactly that. “This is totally unnecessary,” Costello told Fox News, claiming that the raid was done to “make him look like he’s some sort of criminal.”
But it gets more troubling.
Mr. Costello said authorities arrived at Mr. Giuliani’s apartment at 6 a.m. and seized his electronic devices. Mr. Costello said the search warrant describes the investigation as a probe into a possible violation of foreign lobbying rules. Mr. Costello said the warrant sought communications between Mr. Giuliani and individuals including John Solomon, a columnist who was corresponding with Mr. Giuliani about his effort to push for investigations of Joe Biden in Ukraine. Mr. Solomon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fox News anchor John Roberts reported that detail on air: “The warrants sought communications between Rudy Giuliani and individuals including John Solomon, who, of course, is a well-known columnist, who was in communication with Rudy Giuliani about efforts to push for investigations of Joe Biden in Ukraine.”
Solomon of course was instrumental in investigating Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian connections. So this is really starting to look retaliatory and perhaps even trying to figure out what was discovered in Solomon’s investigations. This is very concerning, not only going after President Trump’s lawyer and his communications (some of which likely included Trump), but seemingly trying to get the conversations of a journalist who was involved in investigating Joe Biden’s son.
Even worse, Giuliani wasn’t the only person served. They also served a search warrant on lawyer Victoria Toensing and asked for her phone, according to Fox News. Toensing is a former federal prosecutor and senior Justice Department official. Her law firm issued a statement saying she wasn’t the target and that she would have been happy to turn it over if they just asked, which is what would normally be done. But once again, that shows a troubling level of reaction in this case. Mediaite notes that she represented both Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash and John Solomon, but representing someone isn’t a crime. So it’s unclear what they are trying to find from her besides the “crime” of being in the Trump/Giuliani orbit. But the Solomon connection again would make it appear they’re trying to get conversations related to him. What the alleged “crime” in the conversations with Solomon would be is unclear.
Giuliani’s son, Andrew Giuliani, decried the action against his father and the “continued politicization of the Justice Department.”
“I am speaking as a son and a concerned American–anybody, any American, whether you are red or blue, should be extremely disturbed by what happened here today by the continued politicization of the Justice Department,” Andrew Giuliani said. “This is disgusting. This is absolutely absurd.”
He added “It is the continued politicization of the Justice Department that we have seen and it has to stop– if this can happen to the former president’s lawyer, this can happen to anyone.”
Andrew Giuliani added that the Justice Department must be “independent of politics.”