President Donald Trump was told last year by U.S. intelligence officials that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had been targeted by a Russian intelligence influence operation, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Citing four unnamed former officials, the Post reported that multiple intelligence sources and intercepted communications indicated that in December 2019, Giuliani interacted with people with ties to Russian intelligence, raising concerns that he was passing on Russian disinformation to Trump — perhaps unwittingly.
At the time, Giuliani had just traveled to Ukraine, reportedly in an attempt to dig up incriminating documents to use against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Late Thursday, the New York Times independently confirmed the Post’s report, adding that U.S. intelligence was particularly concerned by Giuliani’s meeting with a Ukrainian lawmaker who the U.S. Treasury Department has labeled “an active Russian agent for over a decade.”
On Wednesday, the New York Post published a report alleging influence-peddling by the Bidens, based on unconfirmed emails, purportedly between Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian energy company — which had previously been hacked by Russian intelligence — that Giuliani had obtained. Twitter TWTR, +0.10% and Facebook FB, -1.87% blocked the article from being shared, citing concerns over potential misinformation and violations of hacked-materials policies.
According to the Washington Post report, national security adviser Robert O’Brien explicitly told Trump last year that any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine was likely planted by Russian intelligence, but Trump reportedly shrugged off the warning.
The material that formed the basis of the New York Post article was similar to the sort of damaging information that Giuliani had sought out in Ukraine, the Washington Post reported.
U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that Russia is attempting to influence the U.S. presidential election, much as it did in 2016.