Biden says he was blindsided by Giuliani raid: I had no idea this was underway – it was the DOJ’s independent judgment

President Joe Biden told TODAY show anchor Craig Melvin on Thursday that he had "no idea" about the FBI raid of Rudy Giuliani's home before it happened.

"I made a pledge I would not interfere in any way... to stop any investigation the Justice Department had. I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it, my word," Biden said. "I had no idea this was underway."

"I'm not asking to be briefed," the president added. "That's the Justice Department's independent judgment. This last administration politicized the Justice Department so badly, so many of them quit, so many left because that's not the role -- that's not the role of a president to say who should be prosecuted, when they should be prosecuted, who should be not prosecuted. That's not the role of the president. The Justice Department is the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer."

Investigators with search warrants combed Giuliani's residence and a separate office on Wednesday morning, seizing electronic devices.

They also seized a phone from a Washington attorney, Victoria Toensing, who has advised Trump and worked with Giuliani on Ukraine-related matters, according to news reports.

Giuliani, himself once a top New York prosecutor and then mayor of the city, was a personal lawyer for Trump when the president was impeached in December 2019 for seeking political help from Ukraine.

Giuliani spent months trying to help Trump find dirt in Ukraine on election rival Joe Biden and Biden's son Hunter, during 2018-2020.

But the investigation behind Wednesday's raid could be honing in on Giuliani doing paid work for Ukrainian businessmen at the same time, violating US laws against unregistered lobbying for foreign entities.

Two Ukrainian-born men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who helped Giuliani in those efforts were arrested in October 2019 and charged with illegally funneling large donations to a pro-Trump fundraising committee.

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With additional reporting from AFP