Giuliani faces potential criminal exposure stemming from his lengthy campaign to dig up dirt on the Biden family in Ukraine. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, the two Soviet-born men who worked closely with Giuliani in a widely debunked drive to link Biden and his son Hunter to corruption in that country, have been charged with illegal campaign contributions. The pair were slated to go to trial in March, but it’s since been postponed to later in 2021. (Both Parnas and Fruman pleaded not guilty.) The FBI is also reportedly investigating Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts, including his possible ties to Russian intelligence. A key Giuliani contact in Ukraine for anti-Biden materials was Andrii Derkach, a lawmaker that the Treasury Department sanctioned in September as an “active Russian agent” attempting to interfere in November’s election.

Giuliani’s zealous, bumbling efforts to help Trump make sense if he’s spooked and wishes to save his own skin. “After the Biden administration takes office in January, I would expect the DOJ and [the Southern District of New York] to sharpen their focus on financial crime, corruption, and money laundering,” Paul Pelletier, who served as the acting chief of the DOJ’s fraud division under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told me. “With his foreign entanglements” and “business relationships with charged fraudsters … Rudy Giuliani’s conduct would surely invite specialized scrutiny. The greater the threat of prosecution, the more a presidential pardon would be welcome.”