US court investigates whether Ukrainians used Trump’s former lawyer to interfere in elections – International

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New York – Federal Court of Nova York Has publicized misleading allegations about whether many Ukrainian officials helped organize a comprehensive plan to intervene in the US presidential election President Joe Biden To skew the vote in favor of former President Donald Trump, Through this Rudy Giuliani, Former President’s Advocate. The newspaper had disclosed the case the new York Times, Who cites sources close to the investigation. In 2019, Trump undergoes impeachment to pressure Ukrainian officials to implicate Biden in corruption cases.

The criminal investigation, which began during the final months of the Trump administration and was not previously reported, highlights the federal government’s increasingly aggressive approach to erasing foreign interference in American electoral politics.

The majority of this effort focuses on Russian intelligence, which is suspected of maintaining links with at least one Ukrainian under investigation. The investigation is contrasted with a long-running federal investigation in Manhattan aimed at targeting then-Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Sources said that although the characters have a similar role in both investigations and in some ways overlap, Giuliani is not the subject of investigation in New York. Instead, prosecutors in Brooklyn as well FBI, Focusing on Ukrainian officials trying to influence the election by spreading unfounded allegations of corruption about Biden through various channels, including Giuliani. It is not clear whether Brooklyn prosecutors will prosecute any Ukrainians.

At a certain point of investigation, authorities investigated Giuliani’s trip to Europe in December 2019, when he met several Ukrainians, according to people who spoke to him the new York Times Under condition of anonymity.

At least one Ukrainian with whom Giuliani met was called by a member of the Ukrainian parliament Andrey Dercacho, Now the focus of the Brooklyn investigation, people said.

Trump x biden

The visit was the result of Giuliani’s one-year-long effort with Trump’s support to undermine Biden’s presidential campaign. The effort proceeded mainly in two parallel ways: gathering information from Ukraine to attack and exert pressure on Biden’s diplomatic efforts as vice-president. Ukraine For the country to announce an investigation into Biden and other Trump critics.

Amid the impeachment process, US intelligence officials warned Trump that Dercach was trying to use Giuliani to spread misinformation. Giuliani, who said he had not received a similar warning at the time, even after Trump’s Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Derkach for electoral interference and accused him of being “an active Russian agent.” Authenticity continued to be confirmed. ”

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In an interview last year, Giuliani said there was nothing to stop him from meeting Durkach, who was not subject to sanctions at the time. “I have no reason to believe that he is a Russian agent,” Giuliani said. On Thursday, Giuliani’s lawyer defended the search for information about Biden, arguing that he relied on misleading information. “When you investigate corruption allegations, you talk to all kinds of people; some are credible and some are not,” said lawyer Robert J. Costello. He said about Biden’s business in Ukraine “Someday the truth will come out”.

Together, the Manhattan and Brooklyn investigation presented a challenge to the Biden Department of Justice, which has promised to stay above the political fray despite inheriting a series of fragile investigations involving Ukraine and Russia. For example, the president’s son, Hunter Biden, is facing a federal criminal tax investigation that appears to be partly related to work done in Ukraine, and the origins of the investigation of Robert Muller, a special Justice Department lawyer Are investigating Russia And Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Giuliani’s investigation in Manhattan – which entered a new offensive phase last month when FBI agents executed a search warrant in her home and office – focused on whether she had turned to US officials in Kiev on behalf of Ukraine authorities Had pressured the Trump administration to remove those who wanted it. . Lending the US government on behalf of foreign officials without registration in the Department of Justice is a violation of federal law, and Giuliani has never registered.

Giuliani denied relationship with Ukrainians

Giuliani, who was not charged with the crime, denied that he worked for any Ukrainian. He categorized his interactions with Trump as part of his effort to help Trump, and characterized the FBI’s searches as a “corrupt double standard” by the Justice Department, which he said he called by Biden and other Democrats “Serious Crimes” ignored. It is unclear why even Manhattan prosecutors are not dealing with Ukrainian investigations.

The Brooklyn investigation is not a specific criminal case. Investigations of foreign-influenced operations are typically carried out by FBI counter-intelligence agents, who are assigned to track foreign spies within the United States and intercept their intelligence activities. But in this case, agents and prosecutors are trying to determine if federal laws have been violated.

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If the Brooklyn prosecutors ultimately decide to open the charges, they can rely on the same lobbying law used in Giuliani’s investigation, known as the Foreign Agent Registration Act, for which some Ukrainians should be called by the government or the media Efforts in the United States may need to be revealed in order to influence. . Fraudulent conspiracy is also a federal crime America, And prosecutors used the law to accuse Russia of interfering in previous elections.

It can be difficult to arrest and extradite Ukrainians facing charges in the United States. Nevertheless, the charges would prevent him from traveling to many parts of the world, where he could be detained for possible extradition.

Financial restrictions

The Treasury Department has already imposed economic sanctions against some Ukrainians for interfering in elections, essentially barring them from doing business in the United States or through American financial institutions. An initial round of sanctions in September targeted Derkach, who the Treasury Department said was “an active Russian agent for more than a decade”. He was educated at Dzerzhinsky Superior School of KGB In Moscow, according to a Ukrainian biography. Then, in January, the department imposed sanctions against seven Ukrainians who, they said, were part of Derkach’s inner circle, including Andrey Telizenko, a former Ukrainian government official who provided damaging information about Biden and other Trump Had worked closely with Giuliani and the Senate Republicans. Critic.

A Derkach representative did not respond to requests for comment, but in the past, he asked for Treasury Department sanctions issued under Trump to get revenge by Biden’s “deep state allies”.

Between late 2019 and mid-2020, Derkach directed his efforts at not only Giuliani, but many Americans. The Treasury Department said, “They took advantage of US media, US-based social media platforms and influential people in the US to spread misleading and unfounded allegations.” Giuliani began collecting information from Ukrainian officials in late 2018 to help Trump undermine Muller’s investigation, and for his son’s work for a widely corrupt Ukrainian oligarch-owned energy company. Challenge to

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After being arrested on charges of unrelated campaign financing by two Soviet-born businessmen, Giuliani helped join up with the Ukrainian authorities, Giuliani swiftly sought help from Telizenko and former member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andrey Artemenko, now in the region Live. Washington And works as a lobbyist, according to people close to the subject.

Federal investigators interviewed Artmenko as part of the Brooklyn investigation of Ukrainian officials, with sources asking to remain anonymous. He said he was not cleared and does not appear to be the target of the investigation. Anthony Capozolo, Artemanco’s lawyer, declined to comment. Artemenko told POLITICO last month that he had spoken to the FBI about Giuliani, without giving further details. Telenjenko and Artemenko joined Giuliani in Washington in late November 2019 at the studios of conservative cable network One America News, to record a series that the network claimed exposed the corruption of the Biden family and attacked the “impeachment scandal” Did, as well as investigating Muller.

Prior to the December 2019 visit, Artmenco signed an agreement with Giuliani, which was also signed by Giuliani, to help locate witnesses defending Trump, according to three people with knowledge of the contract. Artmenco was not paid for the work. Artemanco’s company later signed a lobbying contract to briefly represent Derkach in Washington.

In December 2019, Giuliani and a team from the network traveled Budapesto And Kiev for film interviews with former Ukrainian officials who claimed to have substandard information about Biddens and other Democrats. Respondents included Derkach and two other men – another member of parliament and the recently sacked Ukrainian prosecutor – who faced sanctions by the Treasury Department in January.

The department described two people with Telezenko as members of Dercach’s inner circle and accused them of presenting “stories of propaganda” to influence the 2020 presidential election. It is unclear whether Telijenko is the focal point of the Brooklyn criminal investigation.

In an interview on Thursday, Telyzenko dismissed the Treasury Department’s allegations, stating that he had never met Derkach before Artemenko held the meeting because of his objections. “I said, ‘This is not a good meeting,” Telizenko told Giuliani, noting that Derkach was “already toxic in Ukraine” because “everyone knew he was a pro-Russian”.

Sarah Gracie

About the author: Sarah Gracie

Sarahis a reporter covering Amazon. She previously covered tech and transportation, and she broke stories on Uber's finances, self-driving car program, and cultural crisis. Before that, she covered cybersecurity in finance. Sarah's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Politico, and the Houston Chronicle.

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