The federal investigation into President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani remains active and may soon be ramping up, according to a report published by NBC News on Monday.
Citing two sources familiar with the probe, the news outlet reported that “prosecutors for the Southern District of New York are discussing making a legal request for Rudy Giuliani’s electronic communications.” In particular, they want to see Giuliani’s emails with Justice Department officials in Washington.
The scope of the current investigation is unclear, but In October 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that SDNY prosecutors were reviewing Giuliani’s bank records as part of an investigation into his dealings in Ukraine. Two of his former associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested that month on charges of campaign finance and have since been charged with additional crimes related to wire fraud conspiracy. Parnas and Fruman have pleaded not guilty.
The report noted that the SDNY needs Washington’s approval before its prosecutors can ask a judge to sign a search warrant for materials that may be protected by attorney-client privilege, according to department policy. It is not known whether that approval has been granted by Washington to the SDNY.
From NBC News: “With the presidential election now over, Justice Department rules that prohibit prosecutors from taking overt actions that may influence an election no longer apply.
Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said he could see why Justice Department officials in Washington might hesitate to approve a search warrant close to the election out of the concern that its issuance could become public.
“It’s sensible to perhaps treat a search warrant as an overt investigative step,” said Rosenberg, an NBC News analyst. “Search warrants for a subject’s personal belongings are not terribly discreet and the recipient of the warrant can talk about it. That could be a legitimate concern before an election but the equation changes after an election, when you no longer need to abstain from overt investigative steps.”