The White House was told last year by U.S. intelligence officials that Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, was the target of a Russian effort campaign to peddle misinformation to Trump, according to The Washington Post.
The intelligence was based on sources and communications showing Giuliani interacted with associates of Russian intelligence in December 2019, when the former New York City mayor was on a trip to Ukraine attempting to gather information to expose supposed corruption by the now-Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, unnamed former officials told the Post. No credible information has surfaced to back the corruption allegations.
After national security adviser Robert O’Brien warned Trump in a private conversation that Giuliani could be bringing back Russian misinformation from Ukraine, Trump reportedly dismissed the concerns and said, “That’s Rudy,” a former official told the Post.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot said in a statement to HuffPost late Thursday: “National Security Advisor O’Brien and White House Counsel Cipollone meet with the President frequently on a variety of matters. Ambassador O’Brien does not comment on sensitive intelligence topics, or on the advice he provides President Trump. He can say that the President always treats such briefings with the utmost seriousness. The characterization of the meeting as described in this article is not accurate.”
The New York Post this week published a thinly sourced article making unverified claims about Biden and his son, citing emails that the newspaper said had come from Giuliani and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. The article appeared to have connections to a Russian disinformation campaign.
Giuliani has repeatedly pushed unsubstantiated claims about the Bidens and corruption related to Ukraine.
The Treasury Department earlier this year identified as a Russian “agent” a Ukrainian man, Andrii Derkach, who Giuliani had met with last year. Derkach was one of several agents attempting to influence U.S. elections, per Treasury.
Last year, Giuliani said in an interview that there’s “nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”
The report issued last year by special counsel Robert Mueller detailed how the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election. It also described at least 10 instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice by trying to interfere with Mueller’s investigation.
Last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed that Russia is currently meddling in the 2020 election, including by trying to “denigrate” Biden.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.