Trump calls probe of his ex-attorney Giuliani 'very unfair'

·2-min read

(Reuters) - Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the federal investigation into Rudy Giuliani and said he had no idea what U.S. agents were looking for when they searched his former personal lawyer's Manhattan apartment and office. 

  Federal prosecutors have been investigating Giuliani for nearly 1-1/2 years over his Ukrainian business dealings while serving as Trump's attorney. He has not formally been accused of any wrongdoing. 

  "It’s very, very unfair," Trump told Fox Business Network in a telephone interview. "Rudy is a patriot who loves this country and I don’t know what they’re looking for, what they’re doing. They said it had to do with filing of various papers." 

  "Rudy loves this country so much," added Trump. A spokesman for the former Republican president in February had said that Giuliani was not representing Trump in any current legal matters. 

  Wednesday's search marks a significant step in investigators' probe. A 2019 grand jury subpoena for Giuliani's financial records seen by Reuters showed that agents were examining possible money laundering, wire fraud, campaign finance violations, making false statements, obstruction of justice, and violations of the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act. 

  It marks the latest turn for Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who rose to national prominence following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and who once led the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan that is now probing him. 

  Giuliani began representing Trump in 2018 amid a federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won. 

  Ahead of the 2020 election, Giuliani led an effort to dig up dirt on Democratic contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine. Biden defeated Trump and took office earlier this year. Both Biden and his son have denied wrongdoing. 

  Giuliani's lawyer, Bob Costello, said on Wednesday that authorities had seized cell phones and computers and, along with Giuliani's son, Andrew, he suggested that the investigation of his client was politically motivated - a charge the White House denied. 

  Biden on Thursday said he had no advance notice of the Department of Justice's actions and was making good on his campaign pledge to maintain its independence. 

  "I made a pledge," he told NBC News in an interview. "I would not interfere in any way. ... I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it." 

  Giuliani faces separate legal actions regarding his actions surrounding the November 2020 election and the deadly Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol - one from a Democratic congressman and another from voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems. 

  (Reporting by Steve Holland; additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Mark Heinrich and Leslie Adler)