Sean Hannity slams DOJ for ‘politically motivated’ Rudy Giuliani raids
Fox News host Sean Hannity has attacked the Department of Justice over its raids of Rudy Giuliani‘s home and office, arguing that they may have been politically motivated.
Hannity addressed the issue on his show on Monday night, five days after federal agents targeted Giuliani with predawn raids in Manhattan last week.
The raids were part of a DOJ investigation into whether the former mayor acted as an unregistered federal agent and lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs.
Hannity asserted that the DOJ overstepped given that the crime Giuliani is accused of – violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) – wouldn’t usually be handled in that manner.
‘To give you some reference, most FARA violations involve an American not registering foreign work appropriately with the US federal government. In other words, not filling out the proper paperwork,’ he said.
‘By the way, most violations are resolved with something called a fine. Not your home raided, predawn raids at 6am.’
Fox News host Sean Hannity attacked the Department of Justice over its raids of Rudy Giuliani’s home and office on Monday, arguing that they may have been politically motivated
Giuliani spoke to Fox News earlier on Monday and said federal agents are trying to frame him
Federal agents raided Giuliani’s home and office in New York City last week as part of their investigation into his work into the Ukraine
Hannity said that Giuliani had offered to cooperate with investigators, but they didn’t come to the table.
‘Instead, they decided for a predawn raid of his office in his home,’ he said. ‘The only thing that we’re missing, like in the case of Roger Stone, CNN cameras weren’t tipped off. Wow, what a change of pace.
‘Now we’re going to continue to ask an obvious and very important question, is Rudy Giuliani’s FARA investigation, does it have political motives?
‘And if it does, we all need to have equal justice, application of our laws. And that raises the question about zero experience, Hunter Biden. Is he going to be held accountable for anything? Did he violate any FARA laws in any way? We need an investigation.’
Hannity’s comments came hours after Giuliani slammed the federal investigation surrounding him, claiming agents are ‘trying to frame’ him, that he broke no laws, and that they are only targeting lawyers who worked for Trump.
‘They are trying to frame me,’ Giuliani told Fox News. ‘They are trying to find something they can make into a crime, some technical violation, some mistake I made.’
He described the raid as ‘out of control.’
‘At about 6 am, there was a banging on my door – a very loud banging, and outside there was a group of an endless number of FBI agents,’ he said.
He said he was targeted because of his work for Trump. He served as the personal attorney for the former president.
‘The only lawyers they raid are lawyers for Donald Trump. I can’t think of another lawyer that has been raided other than lawyers for Trump,’ he told Fox News. ‘Trump is in a special category because he doesn’t have constitutional rights.’
His comments echo those of his son and his lawyer, both of whom claimed the investigation is political and that Giuliani is being targeted because of his ties to Trump.
Giuliani did tell Fox News the warrant was part of an investigation into his work for the Ukraine but said his contracts specifically rule out foreign lobbying.
‘They showed me a warrant that sought the electronics in my apartment and purported to be about an alleged violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, FARA, for failure to file as a foreign agent on behalf of an unnamed Ukrainian official,’ he said.
Giuliani said he ‘never did this’ and was ‘shocked’ because he had been offering to discuss the allegations with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
He noted he used to run that office – Giuliani first made his name prosecuting the mob – and that he didn’t break any laws.
‘I know the criminal law and I do not violate it,’ he said.
‘My contracts have clauses that I will not act as a foreign agent, and I wanted to show these things to the government so that they would stop their consistent illegal leaking of an investigation,’ Giuliani said.
Giuliani spoke to Fox News last week and insisted he has done nothing wrong
Giuliani claimed he’s a target because he was the personal lawyer for Donald Trump
Federal prosecutors have been looking at Giuliani and his work in the Ukraine for nearly 1-1/2 years. Last week’s raid came after prosecutors stepped up their investigation into the former New York City mayor after it was put on hold last summer out of concerns it was too close to the election.
Giuliani’s son Andrew accused the Department of Justice of conducting the raid for political reasons – and claims agents didn’t want to take allegedly incriminating evidence involving Hunter Biden.
‘Any American, whether you are red or blue, should be extremely disturbed by what happened here today, by the continued politicization,’ a furious Andrew, 35, told reporters in the Upper East Side on the day of the raid.
‘The only piece of evidence that they did not take up there today was the only piece of incriminating evidence that is in there — and it does not belong to my father, it belongs to the current president’s son,’ he added.
It’s not clear what he was referring to. Giuliani claimed he obtained the materials from a laptop of Hunter Biden during the 2020 election and he also visited the Ukraine in December 2019.
But President Joe Biden said he was not given a head’s up on the raid and that he learned about it at the same time as the public.
‘I give you my word, I was not,’ Biden said told NBC’s Today Show.
‘I made a pledge,’ Biden continued. ‘I would not interfere in any way — order or try to stop any investigation the Justice Department had in their way. I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it.’
President Joe Biden said he had no idea federal agents were going to carry out a raid on Rudy Giuliani’s apartment and office
Giuliani claimed Biden’s son made millions of his work on the board of a gas company in the Ukraine and pushed Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens for corruption. The Bidens have not been charged with that crime. Hunter Biden is being investigated for his taxes.
Both Giuliani’s lawyer and his son accused Biden’s Justice Department of politicization, a charge made often against the department in President Donald Trump’s administration when Trump would publicly pressure his attorneys general to follow his wishes on legal matters. Top DOJ officials would have had to approve the raid.
But Biden told NBC News he has not been briefed on Giuliani nor any other federal investigation.
Asked if he’s been briefed about any other investigation, Biden said: ‘No, and I’m not asking to be briefed — that’s the Justice Department’s independent judgment.’
He went on to criticize the Trump administration’s handling of the DoJ, saying officials ‘politicized the Justice Department so badly, so many of them quit, so many left.’
‘That’s not the role of the president to say who should be prosecuted, when they should be prosecuted, who should not be prosecuted. That’s not the role of the president. The Justice Department is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer,’ Biden said.
Meanwhile, Giuliani’s lawyer Robert Costello blamed the investigation on ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ and also accused agents of ignoring Hunter’s hard drives during their search.
‘Keep in mind that the agents could not read the physical hard drives without plugging them in, but they took Mr. Giuliani’s word that the hard drives were copies of Hunter Biden’s hard drive and did not contain anything pertaining to Mr. Giuliani,’ Costello said in a statement.
‘Their reliance on Mr. Giuliani’s credibility tells you everything you need to know about this case,’ he added.
‘It is outrageous that the Trump Derangement Syndrome has gone so far that hatred has driven this unjustified and unethical attack on the United States Attorney and Mayor who did more to reduce crime than virtually any other in American history,’ Costello said.
The Giuliani team took a page from the Trump playbook, fighting the accusations with charges of their own against a political rival.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that Giuliani, who was universally hailed for his leadership after the September 11th attacks, ‘has come unhinged.’
‘It’s a sad thing to have to say about a predecessor,’ de Blasio said on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.’ ‘But Rudy Giuliani has just come unhinged in every sense. He attached himself to Donald Trump but then went even farther and decided to be one of the most extreme voices in the Trump world.’
The federal investigation centers on whether Giuliani, who was Trump‘s personal attorney, acted as an unregistered federal agent and lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs.
Andrew Giuliani blasted accused President Joe Biden’s Justice Department for playing politics after agents raided his father’s apartment and office
Those were the same group of people who were helping Giuliani search for dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Ukrainian gas company, during the 2020 election in an effort to help Trump politically.
Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, it is a federal crime to try to influence or lobby the US government at the request or direction of a foreign official without disclosing it to the Justice Department.
The United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the FBI had wanted to execute the warrant on Giuliani’s Upper East Side home and office for months but had been stymied by the political leadership put in place at the Justice Department by President Trump.
To obtain the search warrant, investigators would have needed to convince a judge they had sufficient reason to believe that a crime was committed and the search would turn up evidence of that. It does not indicate guilt.
The warrant was originally sought last summer but top officials at DOJ raised concerns about issuing a warrant so close to an election.
DOJ rules prevent actions close to an election that might be seen as interference – a matter that came up both in 2016 during the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails and in 2020 during the investigation, not publicly revealed, into Hunter Biden over potential tax issues.
But after Merrick Garland was confirmed as President Biden’s attorney general, the Justice Department lifted its objection to the search.
The raids indicate the investigation of the former New York City mayor has entered an aggressive new phase. It is unusual for prosecutors to execute a search warrant on a lawyer, particularly one who has privileged conversations with his client, the former president of the United States.
The Giuliani investigation grew out of a federal investigation of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who worked on gathering information about the Bidens during the election.
The two Soviet-born men were charged with federal campaign finance violations.
The two, who pleaded not guilty, were arrested at an airport outside Washington carrying one-way tickets to Europe. That investigation is on-going and faced some delays due to the COVID pandemic.
Trump has said he doesn’t know the two men or the work they did.
Investigators are also looking into Giuliani’s role in the ousting of US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was a prominent witness in Trump’s first impeachment trial. Current and former U.S. officials testified at that inquiry that Giuliani carried out a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.
As Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials to announce an investigation of the Bidens, he pushed to have Yovanovitch removed, seeing her as an obstacle to his efforts to produce a probe that would benefit Trump politically.
At Giuliani’s urging, Trump had her recalled.
Prosecutors are examining whether Giuliani was working not only for Trump, but also for Ukrainian officials or businesses who wanted Yovanovitch dismissed for their own reasons, The New York Times reported.
Giuliani later bragged about having her removed, saying he ‘forced’ her out as she was making his push for the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens ‘difficult.’
Trump was impeached on two counts in his first trial after reports of a July 25, 2019, phone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden and also a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election.