Mueller probe

Trump’s personal lawyer and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is being accused of working with Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko to undermine the Mueller probe. Giuliani is also reportedly using his connection to Lutsenko to advance an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Some members of Trump’s inner circle are reportedly attempting to call attention to candidate Joe Biden’s interests in Ukraine. They’re attempting to draw connections between Biden’s tenure as Vice President and his son’s business interests in an effort to cast suspicion on the Democratic presidential hopeful. This tactic, however, appears to have been exposed in a recent New York Times report.

According to the Times, Giuliani has been making the rounds on conservative media accusing then-Vice President Biden of helping his son, Hunter, avoid accountability in supposed illicit dealings with a Ukrainian company, Burisma Holdings.

In addition to talking to conservative media, the Times reported that Giuliani has discussed the specifics of the Burisma investigation with both the ousted Ukrainian prosecutor general and the current prosecutor. Giuliani has reportedly met multiple times with the current prosecutor over the last year, and is said to have “excitedly” briefed the president on the investigation, according to the Times’ sources.

Both the president and Giuliani have been reportedly encouraging the Justice Department, headed by Trump loyalist Bill Barr, to launch an investigation into Joe Biden’s potential influence in the firing of the former prosecutor.

It is unclear why the president’s personal lawyer would involve himself in an international investigation into the business dealings of the Biden family and coordinate between the White House and Ukrainian prosecutors. However, as he is said to have admitted, he was planning to coordinate with Ukraine to argue that Democrats conspired with anti-Russia Ukrainians to instigate the Mueller probe.

“I can assure you this all started with an allegation about possible Ukrainian involvement in the investigation of Russian meddling, and not Biden,” Giuliani said. “The Biden piece is collateral to the bigger story, but must still be investigated, but without the prejudgments that infected the collusion story.”

According to this statement, Giuliani appears to suggest that the Mueller investigation was a scheme devised by Democrats working with Ukrainian officials. No evidence has surfaced that Biden and his son coordinated or even communicated regarding their activities in Ukraine. The larger accusation of Ukrainian officials colluding with Democrats stems from Ukraine’s leak of Paul Manafort’s financial records, ostensibly to aid the Clinton campaign in 2016.

The investigation into Hunter Biden, as well as the investigation into the leaks of Manafort’s criminal activity, could be viewed as an effort by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko to curry favor with the Trump administration in advance of the Ukrainian general elections last month, in which Petro Poroshenko — considered more friendly to the U.S. than incoming President Volodymyr Zelensky — lost in a landslide.

Zelensky is expected to appoint someone to replace Lutsenko. It is unclear if the new prosecutor will continue either the Hunter Biden case or Giuliani’s attempt to discredit the Mueller investigation.

Paul Manafort has been found guilty of illegal activities stemming from the information leaked by Ukrainian Parliament member Sergiy Leshchenko.

 

Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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