Watchdog Group Calls For Criminal Probe Into Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine Role

A watchdog group is calling for a criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s alleged leverage of government funds to benefit the reelection of client Donald Trump.

Trump has admitted that he sent Giuliani, his personal lawyer, to Ukraine to pressure officials to investigate unfounded accusations against political rival Joe Biden. During some of that time, Trump held up $390 million in military aid for Ukraine that had been approved by Congress.

Giuliani’s business associate Lev Parnas, who has been indicted for alleged campaign finance violations, has said that he followed Giuliani’s instructions to tell Ukrainian officials that their nation would not receive any aid unless they announced an investigation into Biden. 

“Evidence suggests that Giuliani, who is President Trump’s personal attorney, manipulated federal funds — specifically aid to Ukraine — for partisan political purposes, which is prohibited” by the Hatch Act, said a statement Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The organization filed a complaint Thursday with the Southern District of New York, which is reportedly already investigating Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine. The Hatch Act prohibits, among other things, the manipulation of federal funds and federal programs to advance a partisan agenda.

“Giuliani and his potential co-conspirators likely violated the Hatch Act by threatening to withhold congressionally authorized security assistance to Ukraine to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations that would be politically beneficial to Giuliani’s client, President Trump,” the CREW statement added.

CREW’s executive director, Noah Bookbinder, said that Giuliani’s work in Ukraine not only led to the president’s impeachment in the House but “also violated our country’s criminal laws.” Holding up the military aid was “dangerous and anti-democratic,” he said.

Officials from the Southern District could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Read CREW’s entire letter to the SDNY here.

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