- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2020

Attorney General William Barr said Monday the Justice Department must be “very careful” when evaluating information from Ukraine obtained by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani regarding former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son, Hunter.

It is the first time Mr. Barr confirmed the Justice Department has “an open-door policy” to any individuals, including Mr. Giuliani, offering information involving Ukraine, a subject that played a central role in President Trump’s recent impeachment and acquittal on Capitol Hill.

“We have to be very careful with respect to any information coming from the Ukraine,” Mr. Barr told reporters. “There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine, there are a lot of crosscurrents and we can’t take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value.”

On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said the Justice Department had created a process for Mr. Giuliani to verify information about the Bidens.

Appearing on CBS “Face the Nation,” Mr. Graham urged anyone who has information coming out of Ukraine to turn it over to U.S. intelligence committees.

Mr. Barr confirmed a “process” is in place to scrutinize information received regarding corruption in Ukraine, still struggling with post-Soviet legacy of heavy state involvement in the economy and the influence of a class of powerful economic oligarchs.

“That is true for all information that comes to the department relating to the Ukraine, including anything that Mr. Giuliani may provide,” he told reporters Monday.

Mr. Barr’s statement was swiftly condemned by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat and a leader of the impeachment prosecution team. In a letter to Mr. Barr, the chairman demanded more information about the department’s process for receiving Ukraine information.

“This new channel to Mr. Giuliani would seem to be a significant departure from those traditional channels,” Mr. Nadler wrote.

Mr. Nadler also said the attorney general’s statement contradicts previous Justice Department claims that Mr. Barr had not spoken with Mr. Giuliani about Ukraine.

An attorney for indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas also took aim at Mr. Barr, saying on Twitter that the Justice Department’s “open door” policy for Ukraine should apply to his client as well.

“Since AG Bill Barr has opened the door to Rudy Giuliani, … it’s time to hear Lev Parnas & #LetLevSpeak about Ukraine, [President Trump] and his minions,” attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted.

Mr. Bondy has pushed for Mr. Barr to recuse himself from the prosecution of Mr. Parnas, who is facing trial on charges of violating campaign finance laws.

Mr. Parnas says he has plenty of information to reveal about Mr. Giuliani’s attempts to collect dirt on the Bidens, but is holding on to it in hopes of getting a deal from prosecutors. The Ukraine businessman has already released pictures and documents of his trip with Mr. Giuliani to Spain where they met with Ukraine officials with the goal of pushing them into investigating the Bidens, and whether the former vice president used his clout to protect his son’s Ukrainian-based company from corruption charges.

Mr. Giuliani has met with current and former Ukraine officials in a bid to obtain information on Hunter Biden, whose controversial lucrative contracts with a Ukraine energy company have raised eyebrows.

The elder Mr. Biden managed the U.S. government’s ties with Ukraine under President Obama. He famously bragged that he got a top Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son fired, although others claim the prosecutor was terminated because of corruption allegations targeted at the prosecutor.

Gordon Sondland, the former U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told a House investigation last year that Mr. Trump ordered him to work with Mr. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Mr. Sondland was fired last week in the wake of the Senate acquittal vote on impeachment.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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