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A Turning Point in Probe Into Ukraine Dealings?

A judge had to conclude that there was probable cause that evidence of crime(s) would be found there" in order to allow the search of Giuliani's home.

Federal authorities' probe into former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's dealings with Ukrainian officials during the Trump administration appeared to significantly ramp up Wednesday as investigators executed a search warrant at Giuliani's home and office.

Prosecutors have spent months investigating Giuliani's role in pushing former President Donald Trump, who retained Giuliani as his personal lawyer, to fire Marie Yovanovitch, former ambassador to Ukraine. 

Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general for the Department of Justice, tweeted that the execution of a warrant at Giuliani's home and the seizure of his electronic devices represents an extraordinary step in the probe. 

"A judge had to conclude that there was probable cause that evidence of crime(s) would be found there," tweeted Bromwich. 

Michael Cohen, a former lawyer and "fixer" for Trump, also weighed in on the search warrant.

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"Here we go, folks!" Cohen tweeted.

The federal case against Giuliani began with his trip to Ukraine in 2019, when he sought to unearth damaging information about President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Rudy Giuliani reportedly saw Yovanovitch as an obstacle to efforts to try to help Trump win the 2020 election by attacking Biden with Ukrainian intelligence. Investigators have also examined whether Giuliani pushed Trump to oust the ambassador on behalf of Ukrainian officials. A prosecutor in Ukraine told Giuliani that he had damaging information about Yovanovitch.

If Giuliani discussed ousting Yovanovitch with Ukrainian officials for their own reasons, that could constitute a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, under which it is a federal crime to influence the U.S. government on behalf of a foreign official without disclosing the activity to the DOJ.

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Under the Trump administration, federal agents were repeatedly blocked from obtaining warrants to search Giuliani's home, office, and electronics.

Julia Conley
Common Dreams