February 10, 2020
On February 9, 2020, Senator Lindsey Graham revealed on CBS News that he had spoken to Attorney General William Barr about the creation of a Department of Justice process to verify information on Ukraine provided by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani’s long-running efforts in Ukraine were a significant element of Trump’s impeachment by the House for abusing his power when he solicited Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son to benefit his reelection and harm his political opponent.
The DOJ has previously publicly distanced itself from Giuliani and his campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government and spread conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. If Barr and the DOJ are creating special access for Giuliani who is a private citizen and the president’s personal lawyer, then this could be yet another example of Barr doing the president’s bidding at the expense of the public interest.
CREW requested DOJ records on communications between Barr and Graham mentioning Giuliani, Ukraine, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and Burisma. CREW also requested records related to any process that DOJ has for accepting or verifying information provided by Giuliani on these topics, from both DOJ and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
There is strong public interest in revealing just how involved Graham and Barr are with Giuliani, given Giuliani’s baseless campaign in Ukraine. The requested records will explain if there was in fact any legitimate process in place to verify information Giuliani has relayed, which would be a highly unusual and concerning arrangement. It will also shed light on how DOJ officials like Barr interact with individuals like Giuliani who are under DOJ investigation and who the DOJ had publicly sought to distance itself from.