Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) slammed U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday for assigning prosecutors in his state to assess Rudy Giuliani’s debunked claims about Ukraine at the expense of addressing the very real problem of America’s opioid epidemic.
Barr has tasked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania with assessing any documentation or information presented by Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, concerning Ukraine and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Giuliani has repeatedly accused the former vice president of unspecified wrongdoing with no evidence or substantiation. He has also claimed — despite findings by the U.S. intelligence community — that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Casey accused Barr in a letter of manipulating resources to serve Trump’s partisan political agenda at the expense of focusing on very real safety issues — including cracking down on those responsible for the devastating opioid epidemic in America.
Pennsylvania is one of the three states with the highest death rates due to drug overdoses, Casey noted. The White House has labeled southwestern Pennsylvania a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which opens up federal grants and allows for greater collaboration among the region’s law enforcement agencies to stem the flow of illicit drugs. Now prosecutors will be wasting their time appearing to legitimize “Russian propaganda” and outright “political smears” from Giuliani that have already been debunked, Casey complained.
“Law enforcement resources in Western Pennsylvania should not be diverted from combatting serious safety issues to vetting Russian propaganda from Mr. Giuliani,” Casey wrote.
“This new process has led me to question whether [the Department of Justice’s] leadership is more committed to serving the President’s political agenda than the American people — particularly my constituents,” Casey wrote.
“Any materials related to these claims” by Giuliani “should be rejected outright by the DOJ,” he added.
Lev Parnas, a business associate of Giuliani, said Trump’s lawyer was following the president’s wishes when he sent him to Ukraine to try to dig up dirt on Biden. Trump’s pressure on Ukrainian leaders to announce an investigation into unfounded claims about Biden while Trump held up military aid to the nation led to his impeachment.
Giuliani is himself reportedly now a target of an investigation by federal prosecutors. Check out the video up top for Rachel Maddow’s report on how Barr is trying to head off that probe.
Neither Barr nor the Department of Justice could immediately be reached for comment on Casey’s complaints.