Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani probed for lobbying violations, reports say

The investigation is related to his efforts to undermine former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch

Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, leaves Capitol Hill after a closed-door deposition before House committees in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators Friday she was ousted after a "concerted campaign" by President Donald Trump and his allies, including Rudy Giuliani. Photographer: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg
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Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for possible lobbying violations.

That's according to a report Friday in The New York Times, citing two anonymous people familiar with the inquiry.

One of the Times' sources says the investigation is related to Giuliani's efforts to undermine former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Two Florida businessmen tied to Mr Giuliani were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. The men had key roles in Mr Giuliani's efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter. A whistleblower complaint about Trump's involvement with Ukraine has led to an impeachment investigation.

The US attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment Friday night on the Times report.

Earlier on Friday, she told a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into Mr Trump that Trump ousted her based on "unfounded and false claims" after she had come under attack by Mr Giuliani.

She spent more than nine hours in a closed-door meeting with House members and staff. She had been expected to appear last week, but was told not to by the State Department at the behest of the White House, according to Democratic House members. Politicians then issued a subpoena for her appearance and she complied.

Ms Yovanovitch, according to a copy of her opening statement posted online by US media, said she was told by a senior State Department official about "a concerted campaign against me" and said Trump had pushed for her removal since the middle of 2018 even though the department believed "I had done nothing wrong."

She expressed alarm over damage to diplomacy under Trump and warned about "private interests" circumventing "professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good".