On Sunday, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told CBS “Face The Nation” that Attorney General William Barr said he had set up a legal process by which Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani could share information he’s gathered about Ukraine with the Department of Justice.
On Monday, Barr confirmed that information at a Washington press conference, but stipulated federal officials would need to exercise caution with the information they receive, and that the intent was to verify the information.
“The DOJ has the obligation to have an open door to anybody who wishes to provide us information that they think is relevant,” Barr said. “But as I did say to Senator Graham, we have to be very careful with respect to any information coming from the Ukraine. There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine, a lot of cross currents. And we can’t take anything we received from Ukraine at face value.”
This is a particularly interesting development because, as late as December, beltway media was reporting that Barr was none-too-pleased with Giuliani and was even telling the president the former New York City Mayor was becoming a “liability”. Here’s the Washington Post:
But since the start of the administration, his actions have caused persistent alarm among Trump’s advisers, who worry that it is often not clear who Giuliani is representing — the president, his private clients or his own foreign policy views — in his meetings at the White House and in foreign cities, according to people familiar with the concerns who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.
Those worries have become acute since Giuliani emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine pressure campaign that is the subject of the House impeachment inquiry — and the arrests of two of his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who assisted him in that effort.
In several conversations in recent months, Attorney General William P. Barr has counseled Trump in general terms that Giuliani has become a liability and a problem for the administration, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations. In one discussion, the attorney general warned the president that he was not being well-served by his lawyer, one person with knowledge of the episode said.
The Justice Department and the White House declined to comment. Giuliani did not respond to multiple calls and messages seeking his comment. His lawyer declined to comment.
And here’s Politico today, implying (depending on how you read it) Barr needs to verify the information coming from Giuliani because it’s coming from Giuliani (instead of because it’s coming from Ukraine, which is, in fact, what the AG flatly says in the press conference):
Attorney General Bill Barr went out of his way Monday to express skepticism about information President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is offering on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, but Barr also made clear the Justice Department is open to receiving whatever Giuliani wants to share.
It would probably be easier for progressive-friendly media to play up the questionable veracity of the information because it originates in a country battling lawlessness and corruption the way Barr does. But then it would be impossible to slam Trump and his allies as trying to intentionally go after Joe Biden as a political opponent, and they must have that narrative to make their entire failed impeachment argument work (and whatever defense of the Bidens in Ukraine comes next).
Perhaps Barr was suspicious of Giuliani’s information because so much of what comes out of Ukraine can’t be totally trusted, but it doesn’t sound like the men are at odds.
Another media narrative busted.