WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday confirmed Gen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) assertion that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is verifying information provided by President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani about the activities of Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine.
Between 2014 and 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter served on the board of directors of Ukrainian company Burisma, which wasa believed to be corrupt by individuals from inside and outside the Obama administration.
The former VP, who was leading U.S. policy towards Ukraine, including anti-corruption efforts, when his son took the job at Burisma rebuffed conflict of interest and wrongdoing concerns about the company raised by many individuals.
Barr acknowledged that they are taking the information provided by Giuliani with a grain of salt, noting:
The DOJ has [an] obligation to have an open-door to anybody who wishes to provide us information that they think is relevant, but as I did say to Sen. Graham, we have to be very careful … with respect to any information coming from the Ukraine. There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine — a lot of crosscurrents – and we can’t take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value.
During an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation last Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Graham revealed that Barr warned him the Ukraine information provided by Giuliani and other sources could be Russian propaganda. That is why the DOJ is vetting Giuliani’s allegations, the senator pointed out.
Graham said he does not know if Giuliani is getting played by the Russians, adding, “I’m saying that anybody who’s got any information coming from the Ukraine needs to turn it over to the intelligence community.”
When briefing reporters on Monday, Barr noted that DOJ “had established an intake process in the field” to vet information coming out of Ukraine properly.
The process will ensure the information is “carefully scrutinized by the department and its intelligence community partners so that we can assess is provenance and its credibility,” Barr proclaimed.
“That is true for all information that comes to the department relating to the Ukraine, including anything Mr. Giuliani might provide,” he added.
Some Democrats lambasted the DOJ for allowing having an “open door” to receiving information about Ukraine.
Graham declared, referring to the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign against the U.S:
Rudy Giuliani is a well-known man. He’s a crime fighter. He’s loyal to the president. He’s a good lawyer. But what I’m trying to say to the president and anybody else [is] that the Russians are still up to it,
Amid the House Democrat’s impeachment inquiry into Trump, Giuliani traveled to Ukraine in December and met with various Ukrainian officials in an effort to find information on the Bidens that would help the Trump defense team.
Giuliani had met with Ukrainian officials before the impeachment proceedings, allegedly to help convince the Eastern European country to investigate the Bidens and potential 2016 U.S. presidential election interference on behalf of Democrats stemming from there.
Trump has denied sending Giuliani to Ukraine to ask for investigations.
In December, the Democrat-controlled House impeached Trump along partisan lines, charging him with two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Three Democrats joined Republicans in voting against impeachment, with one of them splitting the vote between the two articles.
Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted the president of both charges. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) was the only Republican to join Democrats in voting to convict Trump.
At the heart of the impeachment effort is a “whistleblower” complaint accusing Trump fo trying to coerce the Ukrainian president into launching corruption investigations into the Bidens in exchange for U.S. security aid.
Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart have denied the allegations. The Trump administration released the U.S. aid without receiving anything in return from Ukraine.
Individuals inside and outside the Obama administration have suggested that Trump’s corruption concerns about the Bidens likely had merit, citing Burisma’s shady dealings.
Despite at least one Obama administration official expressing concerns of a conflict of interest and Burisma’s ties to corruption, Hunter continued to work there. Former Vice President Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, who had investigated Burisma.
Consistent with the position of other Senate Republican leaders, Graham has vowed to investigate the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine.