Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham revealed Sunday that attorney general William Barr told him in a phone conversation that the Department of Justice was opening “a process” to review corruption allegations raised by President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Graham, appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, distanced himself from criticism from Giuliani and the president, who tweeted ahead of the show suggesting that Graham was not doing his job.
“He must start up Judiciary and not stop until the job is done. Clean up D.C. now, last chance!” Trump said.
Giuliani revealed explosive allegations Saturday night during an interview with Fox News’s Jesse Watters, claiming that he had three Ukrainians willing to testify that in January 2016, the Obama administration’s National Security Council asked Ukrainian officials to “get me dirt on [former Trump campaign chair Paul] Manafort.”
“I want to prove what happened, because I believe if we prove what happened, [the president] will be totally vindicated,” Giuliani stated. “Lindsey, get started.”
But Graham distanced himself from the president and his lawyer, warning that the situation mirrored that of Democrats’ buying Christopher Steele’s unsubstantiated dossier to damage the 2016 Trump campaign.
“Here’s what I want to tell the president. I’m not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele,” Graham stated. “So Rudy Giuliani last night said he’s got the goods on Hunter Biden. I called the attorney general this morning and Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intel Committee, and they told me take very cautiously anything coming out of the Ukraine against anybody.”
“Any documents coming out of the Ukraine against any American, Republican or Democrat, need to be looked at by the intelligence services, who has expertise. I don’t because Russia is playing us all like a fiddle.”
.@LindseyGrahamSC reacts to @RudyGiuliani: “I’m not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele” Adds, that he's "not sure" if Giuliani is getting played by Russia. WATCH –> pic.twitter.com/4mljoFFxdV
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 9, 2020
The Department of Justice initially declined to comment on whether it was looking into Giuliani’s investigations, but Barr confirmed Monday morning that “we had established an intake process in the field so that any information coming in from Ukraine could be carefully scrutinized by the department.”
Barr just addressed Graham's claim of DOJ-Giuliani channel: "We had established an intake process in the field so that any information coming in from Ukraine could be carefully scrutinized by the department so that we could address its provenance…including info" from Giuliani.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) February 10, 2020
Graham then added that his committee would focus on the FISA abuses against the Trump campaign detailed by inspector general Michael Horowitz, as well as “conflict of interest” allegations against the State Department over Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine.
“I’m going to get to the bottom of the FISA work process because it was an abuse of power of the Department of Justice, the FBI,” Graham stated. “And we’re to make sure that Hunter Biden’s conflict of interest is explored because it’s legitimate. How could Joe Biden really fight corruption when his son sitting on the Burisma board?”
Jill Biden said last week that her family’s friendship with Graham was over after his pursuit of corruption allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden. Graham, who opened a probe in November, defended the move.
“My friendship with Joe Biden — if it can’t withstand me doing my job, then it’s not the friendship I thought,” Graham told Fox Radio host Brian Kilmeade.
Last week, the Treasury Department turned over Hunter Biden’s financial records related to his relationship with Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company whose board he served on, to Senate Republicans.