National Security

Federal prosecutors probing if Ukraine meddled in 2020 election: NYT

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y., are reportedly investigating whether Ukrainian officials were involved in a convoluted plan to interfere in the 2020 presidential election and influence it in favor of former President Trump through his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Citing sources close to the matter, The New York Times reported that the previously undisclosed criminal investigation began in the last months of the Trump administration. The investigation is separate from the one in Manhattan probing Giuliani and his ties to Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials are suspected of spreading baseless claims of corruption about President Biden through multiple channels, including Giuliani.

Sources told the Times that investigators are looking into a 2019 trip to Europe that Giuliani took in which he met with Ukrainian officials including parliament member Andriy Derkach.

Intelligence officials had warned Trump that Derkach was seeking to use Giuliani to spread misinformation, the Times reported, though Giuliani has said he did not receive a similar warning.

Robert Costello, a lawyer for Giuliani, defended the trip in a statement to the Times.

"When you investigate allegations of corruption, you talk to all sorts of people; some are credible, and some are not," Costello said.

Giuliani is not a subject of this investigation, sources told the Times.

Federal investigators searched Giuliani's home in April, seizing communications between associates as well as electronic devices. The investigation's goal is to determine whether Giuliani failed to register as a foreign agent when lobbying on behalf of Ukraine to the Trump administration.

Though it does not appear that he is a subject of investigation, the Times stated that authorities also interviewed former Ukrainian parliament member Andrii V. Artemenko, who lives in Washington, D.C., and works as a lobbyist.

The Times noted that if the Brooklyn prosecutors decide to charge the Ukrainian officials, arresting and extraditing them would prove to be difficult. However, it may limit their ability of travel due to fear of being apprehended in a country that has an extradition treaty with the U.S. 

Updated 7:56 p.m. 

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