The campaign to oust the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is part of the federal inquiry into the dealings of Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, who dismissed Marie Yovanovitch from her post two years ago.
Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello, said Friday that Yovanovitch’s name was among about eight others referenced in a search warrant served during an early morning raid Wednesday at the former New York mayor’s Manhattan apartment and law offices.
Yovanovitch, a career diplomat, was a key witness in the 2019 Trump impeachment hearings in which lawmakers examined the president’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate then-Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
The former ambassador’s connection to the Giuliani probe was first reported by the New York Times.
Giuliani has acknowledged that federal investigators are reviewing whether he failed to register as a foreign agent while representing Ukrainian interests in the United States.
On Thursday, Giuliani characterized the FBI raid on his Manhattan apartment and law offices as “unjustified,” and denied any wrongdoing related to his dealings in Ukraine, where he had openly sought to gather damaging information against Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Giuliani, in a Thursday appearance on Fox News, said FBI agents seized up to eight personal electronic devices, along with two other devices belonging to a separate person the former New York mayor did not identify.
He said that seven agents arrived at his apartment at 6 a.m. Wednesday, making their presence known with a “bang, bang, bang” on the door.
Federal investigators have been examining Giuliani since at least early 2019 related to his business dealings in Ukraine, including with Ukrainian-born Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, of Belarus, who were indicted in the fall of 2019 on campaign finance charges.
The two men played instrumental roles in connecting Giuliani with Ukrainian officials as Giuliani sought information about the financial dealings there of Hunter Biden.
In the last year of the Trump administration, the federal inquiry had been tangled in an internal dispute as prosecutors sought to push it forward.
During the transition to the Biden administration, it was expected that Attorney General Merrick Garland would be consulted on how the inquiry would proceed.
The Justice Department has declined comment on the inquiry.
During his Thursday television appearance, Giuliani claimed he had sought to cooperate with federal authorities multiple times before he was served with the search warrant Wednesday.