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Former President Donald Trump defended his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as a “great patriot” on Thursday and said the FBI’s raids on him as “very unfair.”
“He just loves this country, and they raid his apartment,” Trump told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo in an interview. “It’s like a double standard like I don’t think anybody’s ever seen before. It’s very, very unfair. Rudy is a patriot who loves this country.”
The FBI on Wednesday executed search warrants on Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment and office, as well as on the home of Victoria Toensing, one of his associates in Washington, DC. Agents seized Giuliani’s electronic devices and a computer belonging to his longtime personal assistant, Jo Ann Zafonte. They also served Zafonte with a subpoena to testify before a federal grand jury in May.
Executing a search warrant on a lawyer is an extraordinary step that requires approval from a federal magistrate judge, and Wednesday’s developments marked a significant turning point in the long-running criminal investigation into whether Giuliani violated foreign lobbying laws in his dealings with Ukraine.
“I don’t know what they’re looking for or what they’re doing. They say it had to do with filings of various papers and lobbying files. Well, did Hunter file? Did Biden file?” Trump said Thursday, referring to President Joe Biden and his son. “Because they did a lot of work with other countries. To the best of everyone’s knowledge, they didn’t file.”
There is no evidence that the president had illicit business dealings in foreign countries. Hunter Biden, meanwhile, revealed in December that federal prosecutors are investigating his financial affairs.
“It’s a very, very unfair situation,” Trump repeated on Thursday. “It is so terrible when you see the things going on in our country with the corruption and the problems, and then they go after Rudy Giuliani. It’s very sad, actually.”
The New York Times first reported in 2019 that the Manhattan US attorney’s office was conducting a criminal probe into Giuliani’s business dealings. Specifically, investigators are said to be examining whether he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires that American citizens notify the Justice Department of any contacts they have with foreign governments or officials, and if they interact with the US government or media at the direction of those officials.
The investigation into the former New York mayor is also said to include a counterintelligence aspect, which indicates that the FBI may view him as a national security threat.
Giuliani, for his part, spearheaded a months-long, behind-the-scenes effort to influence US policy vis-a-vis Ukraine, an endeavor that ultimately led to Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.
He was also in contact with several Russian and Ukrainian political operatives as part of a public quest to dig up dirt on the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election. Giuliani’s actions were so alarming to US officials that, according to The Washington Post, they warned the White House that Russian intelligence agencies were using Giuliani to funnel disinformation to Trump.
Giuliani’s lawyer, Bob …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Politics
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