By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is receiving information on former Vice President Joe Biden and his businessman son, Hunter Biden, from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump ally in the Senate said on Sunday.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Attorney General William Barr told him about the arrangement on Sunday morning and that Justice Department officials were evaluating Giuliani’s information to determine whether it is genuine.
“The Department of Justice is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from Rudy. He (Barr) told me that they have created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it’s verified,” Graham told the CBS News program Face the Nation.
Justice Department officials were not immediately available for comment.
News of the arrangement surfaced days after the Senate acquitted Trump on impeachment charges that he abused his power by asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
Trump had based his demands on unfounded allegations of corruption. House investigators alleged that Giuliani pursued damaging information about the Bidens in Ukraine as Trump’s personal lawyer.
Hunter Biden sat on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma while Joe Biden, now a Democratic presidential candidate, was vice president.
Two Republican senators – Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson – are also conducting an investigation of U.S. government records to determine whether there was a conflict of interest.
Graham said he spoke to Barr and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr on Sunday, after Giuliani told an interviewer that he had unearthed key evidence from Ukraine.
“They told me: ‘Take very cautiously anything coming out of the Ukraine against anybody,'” Graham said.
“Any documents coming out of the Ukraine against any American, Republican or Democrat, need to be looked at by the intelligence services who have expertise – I don’t – because Russia is playing us all like a fiddle.”
Graham said he would refrain from his own probe of the Bidens and concentrate instead on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s decision to issue warrants that led to a federal investigation into allegations that Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the election.
“Here’s what I want to tell the president: I’m not going to be the Republican Christopher Steele,” Graham said.
Steele is the former British spy who produced a dossier on Trump that the FBI used in its Russia probe. Republicans have condemned the dossier as a sham document filled with Russian propaganda.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Nick Zieminski)