Reporting by The Washington Post, based on information from four former officials familiar with the matter, says that the president’s personal lawyer interacted with individuals tied to Russian intelligence during his December 2019 visit to Ukraine.
The warnings from the intelligence services to the White House led national security adviser Robert O’Brien to caution Mr Trump that information brought back from Ukraine by Mr Giuliani should be considered contaminated by Russia, according to one of the officials.
Mr Giuliani visited Ukraine to gather information that he thought would implicate Joe Biden and his son Hunter in corrupt acts.
The Post reports one of the sources as saying that message back to the White House was: “Do what you want to do, but your friend Rudy has been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine.”
Officials wanted to protect the president at a time when he was facing impeachment over attempts to lean on Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens and the gas company Burisma.
The president’s response to the warning was allegedly: “That’s Rudy.”
The alleged warning about Mr Giuliani underlines that Russia is again looking to influence US elections and this time may be, unwittingly or not, helped by people close to the president.
Mr Giuliani was not under surveillance by the US while in Ukraine, but reportedly interacted with Russian assets who were, leading to the capture of any communication between them.
The Post says that Mr Giuliani was not informed that he was dealing with a Russian intelligence asset when he met with Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker. He met with him twice, once in Kiev and once in New York, describing him as “very helpful”.
Spokespersons for the FBI and Justice Department declined to comment on the Post’s story.