THREAD: What should we make of today's news that federal prosecutors are examining Rudy Giuliani's finances and his other work in Ukraine?
1/ Today @WSJ reported that Manhattan federal prosecutors are examining Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine, including his finances, meetings and work for a city mayor there. (Link below.)…
@WSJ 2/ We already knew, based on prior press reports, that Giuliani was a subject of the criminal investigation of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were indicted last week for campaign finance violations.

That means that prosecutors believe Giuliani has potential criminal liability.
@WSJ 3/ Today's news means that federal prosecutors are taking a very thorough, detailed look at Giuliani. It suggests that they are exploring potential charges against him but does not mean that they will find sufficient evidence to prove those charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
@WSJ 4/ The most obvious source of liability that Giuliani has comes from his work with Parnas and Fruman. Whenever you are a close associate with people who are indicted for committing a crime, you should be concerned that prosecutors will add you to the charged criminal conspiracy.
@WSJ 5/ Merely associating with someone involved in criminal activity is *not* a crime, however. Prosecutors would have to prove that Giuliani agreed with Parnas and Fruman to be part of their scheme to prove that he was part of their conspiracy.
@WSJ 6/ Alternatively, they could prove that he knew about their scheme and helped make it succeed. That is what "aiding and abetting" is. The assistance would have to be concrete. It wouldn't be enough for him to cheer them on. He'd help to help them move it forward in some way.
@WSJ 7/ There has been a lot of speculation about potential criminal liability for Giuliani arising from his involvement in the Ukraine scandal that is now the subject of the House impeachment inquiry.

That is less likely, for a number of reasons.
@WSJ 8/ First, as I explained in my column in @POLITICOMag, it's problematic to charge the Ukraine scheme using existing federal criminal statutes. It is certainly a massive abuse of presidential power and is best understood as such. (Link below.)…
@WSJ @POLITICOMag 9/ Second, as to a FARA violation for failing to register as a foreign agent, Giuliani would likely claim that he was acting at the direction of the President and with the knowledge and consent of the Attorney General.
@WSJ @POLITICOMag 10/ There would be huge issues with Giuliani actually proving that defense, but if he could, that would make it hard to convict him.

In general, I expect anything Giuliani did in concert with Trump as president would be messy for prosecutors to prove. Possible, but less likely.
@WSJ @POLITICOMag 11/ For those reasons, Giuliani should be very concerned about an investigation of his finances and other dealings with Ukraine.

Prosecutors look for slam-dunk cases that can get them convictions, and that is more likely here if it doesn't involve something he did with Trump.
@WSJ @POLITICOMag 12/ A prosecution of Giuliani for a financial crime or for something he did in relation with another project sidesteps the potential legal issues posed by charging Giuliani for a crime in relation to something he did with the president, or the circus it would cause.
@WSJ @POLITICOMag 13/ But so far, we know little about his potential liability related to his financial dealings or his other work in Ukraine.

He should be very worried about becoming part of Parnas and Fruman case, but it's possible that he has much more to worry about. /end
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