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According to CBS News’ sources, Department of Justice officials, at the direction of Attorney General William Barr, have been “quietly” reviewing over the past “several weeks” records and documents related to the “Ukraine matter,” including documents provided by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Citing a source familiar with the matter, CBS News’ Catherine Herridge and Clare Hymes reported Tuesday that “staff outside of Main Justice in Washington have been assigned by Attorney General William Barr to review the Ukraine matter, adding that the review is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh and is separate from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe.”
Among the materials reportedly being reviewed by Justice Department officials at Barr’s behest are some provided by Giuliani, who was specifically mentioned by President Trump in his famous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and who appears to have served as point man for the pursuit of investigations into allegations of corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
Herridge and Hymes note that that investigation also “goes beyond” matters related to the Bidens, according to the source.
In the call which sparked the Democrats’ impeachment campaign, President Trump asked Zelensky to “look into” the allegations involving the Bidens and Burisma. After a whistleblower complaint accused Trump of attempting to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival, Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry resulting in two articles of impeachment, which passed in the House but for which Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
As Herridge and Hymes reports, the allegations involving the Bidens and Ukraine “have gained new life” since Trump’s acquittal, with Barr stating Monday that the department has established an “intake process in the field” for material concerning Ukraine.
During the impeachment trial in the Senate, Trump’s lawyers repeatedly brought up the issue of corruption in Ukraine, around which Trump’s request to Zelensky centered. At one point, President Trump’s deputy counsel Patrick Philbin connected the “Ukraine matter” to the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment.
“If the whistleblower, as is alleged in some public reports, actually did work for then-Vice President Biden on Ukraine issues, exactly what was his role?” asked Philbin. “What was his involvement when issues were raised — we know from testimony that questions were raised — about the potential conflict of interest that the vice president then had when his son was sitting on the board of Burisma. Was the alleged whistleblower involved in any of that and in making decisions to not do anything related to that? Did he have some reason to want to put the deep-six on any question raising any issue about what went on with the Bidens and Burisma and firing Shokin and withholding a billion dollars in loan guarantees and enforcing a very explicit quid pro quo — you won’t get this billion dollars until you fire him? We don’t know. And because Manager [Rep. Adam] Schiff was guiding this whole process, because he was the chairman in charge of directing the inquiry and directing it away from any of those questions, that creates a real due process defect in the record that has been presented here.”