POLITICS

House Judiciary Goes After AG Barr Over Back Channel For Giuliani To Give Info On Ukraine

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter to the attorney general demanding answers about the DOJ's new "intake process" to vet tips from Rudy Giuliani.

The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday demanding answers regarding the Justice Department’s new so-called “intake process” to receive information from Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine and the Bidens.

Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) letter comes hours after Barr admitted that the department would evaluate material that Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, had collected from Ukrainian sources claiming to have damaging information about 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Giuliani’s gathering of such information was a huge part of Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which led to the president’s impeachment (and eventual acquittal). Much of what the former New York City mayor has said to media outlets so far has consisted of conspiracy theories and misinformation.

“As you know, the Department has formal, established channels by which to receive information and begin investigations,” Nadler wrote in the letter. “This new channel to Mr. Giuliani would seem to be a significant departure from those traditional channels.”

Nadler cited Sen. Lindsey Graham’s interview on Sunday with Face the Nation where the South Carolina Republican said Barr told him about a so-called “intake process” in which Giuliani “could give information” and that the Justice Department would “see if it’s verified.” 

Barr later confirmed at a press conference on Monday morning that the Justice Department does in fact have such a process to receive information relating to Ukraine and the Bidens, including “anything Mr. Giuliani might provide.” The attorney general and other Justice Department officials tried to hedge the answer by alleging that Giuliani was being treated the same as any other tipster.

“Your announcement also represents a significant departure from your past statements about Mr. Giuliani,” Nadler wrote. “On September 25, the Department confirmed it had not been asked by the President to ‘contact Ukraine ― on this or any other matter. The attorney general has not communicated with Ukraine ― on this or any other subject. Nor has the attorney general discussed this matter or anything relating to Ukraine, with Rudy Giuliani.’”

“To the extent that statement is no longer accurate, any official relationship between Mr. Giuliani and the Department raises serious questions about conflicts of interest ― both for the Department, generally, and for you, specifically,” Nadler continued, citing Giuliani associate Lev Parnas’ allegation that Barr knew virtually everything about communications with Ukraine. “Whether or not you are in league with Mr. Giuliani and his associates, DOJ guidelines and regulations exist to protect you and the Department from even the appearance of a conflict of interest or any impropriety.”

A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment, though a department official told The Washington Post that Giuliani had “recently” shared information through the process described by Barr. The information is reportedly being vetted through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, according to the Post.

Nadler asked Barr to answer a series of questions regarding the so-called “intake process” for Giuliani and the attorney general’s relationship with the president’s personal attorney. Barr has until Feb. 25 to respond to the questions.

Giuliani is currently being investigated himself by the Justice Department, a case that has so far led to campaign finance charges against Parnas and fellow associate Igor Fruman. Both Parnas and Fruman helped Giuliani in his pursuits related to Ukraine.

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