FBI was aware Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence campaign ahead of 2020 election: report

The FBI last year became away that President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani became a target of a Russian influence campaign ahead of November’s presidential election, The Washington Post reported.

The report of the FBI’s warning comes the day after federal prosecutors executed a search warrant on Giuliani’s apartment, investigating if Giuliani had inappropriate dealings with Ukraine. 

Officials familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Post that Giuliani was the target of a campaign aimed at circulating falsehoods that were meant to damage President Biden. The campaign occurred when Giuliani was working closely with the former president on his 2020 reelection campaign. 

At the time, the former New York City mayor planned trip to Ukraine where he met with a Ukrainian lawmaker whom the U.S. government in 2019 labeled as “an active Russian agent.” The lawmaker was sanctioned by the U.S. government on the ground that he was running an influence campaign to smear Biden, according to the Post. 

The Post reported that at the time, officials planned to warn Giuliani as part of an effort to inform members of Congress, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) of these Russian efforts. 

Then-national security adviser Robert O’Brien warned Trump that any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia.

In a correction to the Post’s report made Friday, the paper said that Giuliani reached out to the news source and stated that he was never contacted by the FBI about Russia’s disinformation campaign. 

According to the Post, Johnson didn’t take any mind to the warning, and said Thursday that there was no substance to his meeting with U.S. intelligence officials.

Johnson at the time was investigating President Biden’s dealings with Ukraine while he was vice president when his son, Hunter Biden, held a seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Updated Saturday, May 1, 10:49 p.m.

Editor’s note: A past version of this article indicated that Giuliani was warned that he was the target of a Russian disinformation campaign. However, the article has been changed to reflect that the FBI was made aware that Giuliani was the target of such a campaign. 

Tags 2016 Russian interference Donald Trump Joe Biden Ron Johnson Rudy Giuliani Rudy Giuliani Russia Trump–Ukraine scandal

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