President Donald Trump was warned by national security officials last year that his lawyer Rudy Giuliani was being used by Russia to spread disinformation, The Washington Post reported.
"That's Rudy!" Trump replied, shrugging off their concerns, according to the paper.
A controversial New York Post report has renewed concerns that Trump and his allies may use Russian disinformation to damage Joe Biden's presidential candidacy.
President Donald Trump responded to being told by officials that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was being used by Russian agents to spread disinformation by shrugging and saying "that's Rudy!", according to a Washington Post report Thursday.
The report details Giuliani's ties with Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who in August was listed as a Russian agent by the US Treasury and subjected to sanctions.
According to the Post, US intelligence established that Russian agents were pushing disinformation to Giuliani during a trip the former New York City mayor made to Ukraine last year.
The Post said the conclusion was based on intercepted messages, and that US security officials believe that the Russian assets sought to influence Trump through his attorney.
Giuliani embarked on the trip to drum up damaging information about Joe Biden, now the Democratic presidential nominee, and his son, Hunter Biden, who worked for Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.
The intelligence on Giuliani's contacts with Russian agents made it to Trump.
"Do what you want to do, but your friend Rudy has been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine," one source told the Post, describing a message said to have been passed to Trump by national security adviser Robert O'Brien.
Trump's reaction was to shrug off their concerns, according to the report.
John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, described the Post's characterization of the episode as "not accurate" in a statement to the outlet, though he did not give specifics.
At the time, Trump was embroiled in the impeachment scandal over his attempt to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into the Bidens.
One of the allegations that Trump told Ukraine to probe — that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election – is also believed to have originated with Russian intelligence, Politico reported in January.
One source told the Post that the idea of alerting Trump to Giuliani's ties to Russian agents was to avoid the president "saying something stupid" during the impeachment probe.
The process ended in Trump's acquittal in January by the GOP-controlled Senate.
The Post's report was based on information from four former officials not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Giuliani told the Post that at the time he was not aware of Derkash's alleged ties to Russian intelligence.
The publication this week of a disputed New York Post report has renewed attention on Giuliani's activities in Ukraine.
The report, citing Giuliani as a source, claims that emails found on a computer taken into a Delaware repair shop contain evidence of corruption by the Bidens in Ukraine.
But the authenticity of the emails has not been established, and The New York Times reported on Wednesday that US intelligence last year believed that material hacked from Burisma by Russian intelligence might be mixed with fabricated information to influence the US election.
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