Graham: AG Barr Set Up Process For Giuliani To Feed Him Dirt On Joe Biden
Attorney General William Barr has created some type of process whereby President Donald Trump’s personal attorney can feed information he digs up on Joe Biden to the head of the Justice Department, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.
The South Carolina Republican made the assertion during his Sunday appearance on Face the Nation, which New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait noted “would be a scandal of Nixonian proportions” if the claim turns out to be true.
“The Department of Justice is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from Rudy,” Graham said, explaining that Barr “told me that they’ve created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it’s verified.”
This would be a highly inappropriate arrangement between the president’s personal lawyer and the attorney general, Chait noted, but Graham justified the setup, saying: “Rudy Giuliani is a well-known man. He’s a crime fighter. He’s loyal to the president. He’s a good lawyer.”
Chait laid out precisely why the Barr/Giuliani “process” is problematic.
1. Giuliani is Trump’s personal attorney, not a government official.
Giuliani made clear to The New York Times last year that he is not acting in the interest of the United States but in the interest of his client, Donald Trump.
He told the newspaper he was seeking out “information [that] will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” This makes clear that Trump’s political interests come before the country’s interests — if the country’s interests factor in at all.
Chait also noted that this arrangement ostensibly has not been offered to any other candidates or their attorneys: “ What is this special “process” he created to let Rudy supply him with allegations? Is it a 1-800 number, a drop box, or what? Has Barr told the Democratic candidates how the process works so they can have their lawyers feed their own leads to him?”
2. Giuliani is working with foreign officials whose interests diverge from U.S. interests.
Though Giuliani has not disclosed who is signing his paychecks, “paid half a million dollars by [Lev] Parnas, who was in turn paid by Dymtro Firtash, a Russian oligarch whose work tends to advance Russian foreign-policy interests,” Chait noted.
The implication of this arrangement is significant: “This raises the strong possibility that Giuliani is effectively a paid backchannel for Russian propaganda, and he now has a special line into the Department of Justice.”
3. Giuliani is the subject of a criminal investigation.
After two of his former associates were arrested on campaign finance charges — Parnas and Igor Fruman — reports surfaced that Giuliani himself is under investigation as well. Trump’s attorney “allegedly pursued his own profit-making scheme in Ukraine, and seems to have committed campaign finance violations, by funneling foreign donations to Republican allies.”
Common sense allows that individuals under investigation by the DOJ should be some of the least likely candidates for striking an agreement that allows feeding allegations to the attorney general. Chait puts it in perspective: “if the DOJ opened up an investigation of me, and arrested two of my partners as they tried to leave the country with one-way tickets, I couldn’t just open up my own back channel to their boss.”
Particularly interesting in this story is that the Justice Department opted against commenting on the matter when asked by The New York Times. So it's impossible to know if Graham's claim is true or if he is lying — or whether he is telling the truth but was possibly lied to by the attorney general.
“This seems like the kind of transparent violation the leading law enforcement agency ought to be able to say is not happening and cannot happen,” Chait observed. “That DOJ cannot even deny an obvious abuse is a sign things have gotten pretty far out of hand.”