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New York Times

Prosecutor investigating whether Ukrainians interfered with the 2020 elections

Brooklyn’s federal prosecutor has used Rudolph Giuliani to spread misleading allegations about President Joe Biden and to favor Donald Trump with a wide range of plans to interfere with the 2020 presidential election. We are investigating whether several Ukrainian authorities have helped to coordinate. People with knowledge of the problem. Beginning during the last few months of the Trump administration, previously unreported criminal investigations underscore the federal government’s increasingly aggressive approach to eradicating foreign interference with U.S. election politics. .. Much of that effort has focused on Russian intelligence, which is suspected of having a relationship with at least one Ukrainian currently under investigation. The investigation is separate from the long-running federal investigation into Giuliani in Manhattan. People said Giuliani wasn’t the subject of Brooklyn’s study, although the two studies have similar personalities and overlap in some respects. Instead of signing up for the morning newsletter from the New York Times, Brooklyn prosecutors suspected of working with the FBI to influence elections by spreading unfounded corruption claims about Biden through many channels. Focusing on some current and former Ukrainian officials, including Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney at the time. It is unclear whether Brooklyn prosecutors will eventually prosecute any of the Ukrainians. At some point in the investigation, authorities investigated Giuliani’s trip to Europe in December 2019. He met several Ukrainians, according to those who spoke anonymously and discussed ongoing investigations. At least one of the current and former officials Giuliani met, a Ukrainian MP named Andrii Derkach, is now the focus of Brooklyn’s investigation, people said. The trip, with the help of Trump, was the culmination of Giuliani’s year-long efforts to undermine Biden’s presidential campaign. Efforts went on two main parallel paths: gathering information from Ukraine to attack Biden’s diplomatic efforts as Vice President and publishing a survey of Biden and other Trump critics in Ukraine. To put pressure on. The effort eventually backfired and led to Trump’s first impeachment. During the impeachment process, US intelligence officials warned Trump that Derkach was trying to use Giuliani to disinformation. Giuliani, who said he had not received the same warning at the time, continued to guarantee the authenticity of the information he received, even after Trump’s Treasury imposed sanctions on Derkach for election interference, calling him “an active Russian surrogate.” “People”. .. In an interview last year, Giuliani said there was nothing to discourage the meeting with Derkach, who was not sanctioned at the time. “There is no reason to believe he is a Russian agent,” Giuliani said. On Thursday, Giuliani’s lawyer defended the search for information about Biden and argued that he relied on misleading information. “When investigating allegations of corruption, we talk to people of all kinds. Some are credible and some are not,” said lawyer Robert J. Costello. He added that “someday the truth will be revealed” about Biden’s deal in Ukraine. Together, the Manhattan and Brooklyn investigation presents challenges to the Biden Justice Department, which has promised to remain beyond political conflict, even if it inherits many sensitive investigations related to Ukraine and Russia. For example, the president’s son, Hunter Biden, is facing a federal criminal investigation that appears to be partly related to his work in Ukraine, and a special adviser to the Department of Justice is Robert Swan Mueller’s Russia. Investigating and investigating the origin of Trump’s 2016 campaign. .. Giuliani’s investigation in Manhattan entered a new phase of aggressiveness when FBI agents executed search warrants at home and in the office last month, but the Trump administration replaced Kiev with Ukrainian officials who wanted her. It focuses on whether it has urged the US ambassador to be dismissed. lost. Lobbying the US government on behalf of a foreign civil servant without registering with the Justice Department is a violation of federal law and Giuliani did not register. Giuliani, who has not been accused of cheating, has denied that he worked for the Ukrainians. He threw interactions with them as part of his efforts to help Trump, accusing the FBI investigation of being a “corrupted double standard” by the Department of Justice, and ignoring “explicit crimes” by Biden and other Democrats. Said. It’s unclear why Manhattan prosecutors haven’t even investigated Ukrainians, but Trump’s Justice Department regularly clashes with its office and instead directs several cases, including Ukraine, to Brooklyn’s office. Did. A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Brooklyn, like a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Manhattan and the FBI, declined to comment. The Brooklyn investigation is not a typical criminal case. Inquiries about manipulating foreign influence are typically made by FBI counterintelligence agents assigned to track foreign spies in the United States and thwart their intelligence activities. But in this case, agents and prosecutors are trying to determine if federal law has been violated. If Brooklyn prosecutors finally decide to prosecute, they can rely on the same lobbying law used in Giuliani’s investigation, known as the Foreign Agent Registration Act. Government or media. Collusion to deceive the United States is also a federal crime, and prosecutors have used the law to prosecute Russians accused of interfering in previous elections. Arresting and handing over Ukrainians facing accusations against the United States can be difficult. Nevertheless, prosecution is most likely to prevent them from traveling to most parts of the world, where they may be detained for possible delivery. The Treasury has already leveled economic sanctions against election interference against some Ukrainians, essentially preventing them from doing business in the United States or through US financial institutions. The first sanctions in September were aimed at Derkach, who the Treasury said was “an active Russian agent for more than a decade.” According to a Ukrainian biography, he was educated at KGB’s Dzerzhinsky High School in Moscow. Then in January, the ministry worked closely with Giuliani and Senate Republicans to provide harmful information about Biden and other Trump critics, including former Ukrainian government official Andrii Derkach. Sanctions were imposed on the seven Ukrainians who claimed to be. Derkach’s representative did not respond to a request for comment, but in the past he called the Treasury sanctions issued under Trump revenge by Biden’s “Deep State Associates.” From late 2019 to mid-2020, Derkach turned his efforts not only to Giuliani, but to many Americans. He “leveraged US media, US-based social media platforms, and influential Americans to spread misleading and unfounded claims,” ​​the Treasury said. Giuliani began gathering information from Ukrainian authorities in late 2018, and his son’s job at an energy company owned by a Ukrainian emerging conglomerate, which Trump has undermined Mueller’s investigation and is widely considered corrupt. Helped to blame Biden for. Giuliani is increasingly living and working in the Washington area, after being arrested on suspicion of unrelated election funding for two Soviet-born businessmen who helped Giuliani connect with Ukrainian officials. As a lobbyist, according to those who are directly aware of Giuliani’s efforts to seek help from former members of the Ukrainian Parliament. Federal agents interviewed Artemenko as part of Brooklyn’s investigation into Ukrainian officials, some people with knowledge of the matter said. They added that he was not licensed and did not appear to be the subject of the investigation. Artemenko’s lawyer, Anthony Capozzolo, declined to comment. Artemenko told Politico last month that he spoke to the FBI about Giuliani without further elaboration. Terizenko and Artemenko joined Giuliani in Washington at the Washington Studios on the conservative cable network One America News in late November 2019, claiming that the network was exposed to corruption by the Bidens, “impeachment hoax” and Mueller’s investigation. Recorded a series that attacked. Prior to the December 2019 trip, Artemenko signed an agreement with Giuliani to help find witnesses defending Trump, according to three people with knowledge of the contract Giuliani also signed. Artemenko was not paid for the job. The Artemenko company later signed a lobbying contract that briefly represented Derkach in Washington. In December 2019, Giuliani and the network crew visited Budapest and Kiev to film interviews with current and former Ukrainian officials who claim to have criminal information about Biden and other Democrats. Derkach and two other men (another member of parliament and a recently dismissed Ukrainian prosecutor) were interviewed and faced sanctions by the Treasury in January. The ministry described the two men as members of Derkach’s inner circle with Terizenko and accused them of advancing a “disinformation story” to influence the 2020 presidential election. It’s unclear if Telizhenko is the focus of Brooklyn’s criminal investigation. In an interview Thursday, Terizenko declined the accusation from the Treasury and said he had never met Derkach before Artemenko arranged a meeting for his objections. “I said,’This is not a good meeting,'” Terizenko told Giuliani, and Derkach was “already toxic in Ukraine.” “Everyone knew he was a pro-Russian,” he added. About two months after the trip, Derkach traveled to New York and recorded a podcast with Giuliani, Terizenko said. After Biden emerged as a presumed Democratic presidential candidate in May 2020, Derkach recorded a series of personal telephone calls between Biden’s Vice President and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The first one of is released. Derkach claimed that the recording showed no evidence that Biden and his son Hunter were engaged in corruption. The Treasury later accused Derkach of releasing “edited audio tapes and other unsupported information.” But in the months leading up to the election day, Trump and his allies advertised some of the material released by Derkach. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company