Trump defends Giuliani, reportedly under investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday stood behind personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, one of his highest-profile and most vocal defenders, amid reports that federal prosecutors in the city Giuliani led as mayor are eyeing him for possible lobbying violations.
Behind the scenes, however, many of Trump’s closest aides and advisers, inside and outside the White House, quietly wish the president would cut ties with Giuliani, whose leadership of New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks earned him worldwide admiration and the moniker of “America’s mayor.”
Giuliani was a force in Trump’s defense during the lengthy Russia investigation by the special counsel. Yet the effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller led Giuliani to Ukraine, which now entangles the former federal prosecutor and mayor in legal jeopardy and is central to the danger threatening the presidency he labored to protect.
The New York Times reported Friday, citing a pair of anonymous sources familiar with the matter, that the investigation is linked to Giuliani’s efforts to undermine Marie Yovanovitch, formerly the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan has declined to comment on the Times report.
Two Florida businessmen with ties to Giuliani were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. Both played key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a gas company there.