The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has told its political opponents in the Democratic Party they may use controversial dirt dug up in Ukraine by President Donald Trump’s emissary Rudy Giuliani in “ongoing matters.”
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd confirmed the existence of multiple probes in a Tuesday letter to House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) sent in response to a previous inquiry about what, exactly, DOJ had planned for Giuliani’s controversial tranche of information.
“As you know, the Department typically does not provide information relating to ongoing matters,” Boyd’s letter teasingly begins—seemingly framing the news as a corrective to how the former New York City mayor’s hunt for dirt on Joe Biden has been represented in the media. “However, the Department is aware of news reports and public comments from Members of Congress that have significantly distorted the public’s understanding of the Department’s handling of such cases.”
Boyd’s letter to Nadler continues [emphasis ours]:
In light of several open matters being handled by different U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department components that in some way potentially relate to Ukraine—the existence of which have been publicly reported—Deputy Attorney General [Jeffrey] Rosen has assigned Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to assist in coordinating such matters. The Deputy Attorney General implemented this policy to avoid duplication of efforts across Department Offices and components, to facilitate information sharing, to ensure there are no conflicts among potentially overlapping matters, and to efficiently marshall the resources of the Department. To protect the integrity of ongoing matters, particularly with respect to unsolicited information offered to the Department, the Deputy Attorney General has also assigned Scott Brady, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, to assist in the receipt, processing, and preliminary analysis of new information provided by the public that may be relevant to matters relating to Ukraine.
Politico’s national security correspondent Natasha Bertrand notes that Boyd’s reference to “the public” is a soft euphemism for Giuliani. The information supplied to DOJ is likely to have been acquired via his much-maligned expedition to the Ukraine at the height of the impeachment process last year.
DOJ previously telegraphed their intention to investigate several Ukraine-related cases in a leaked memorandum dated January 17, 2020.
“As has been publicly reported, there are several distinct open investigations being handled by different U.S. Attorney’s Offices and/or Department components that in some way potentially relate to Ukraine,” the eyes-only documented noted. “In addition, new information potentially related to Ukraine may be brought to the attention of the Department going forward.”
Nadler responded to the above memo on February 10, 2020–writing to Attorney General William Barr directly—demanding answers about the Giuliani “backchannel” and more or less warning Barr not to move forward with investigations based on that controversially-sourced information.
“[A]ny official relationship between Mr. Giuliani and the Department raises serious questions about conflicts of interest—both for the Department, generally, and for you, specifically,” Nadler told Barr.
“Whether or not you are in league with Mr. Giuliani and his associates, DOJ guidelines and regulations exist to protect you and the Department from even the appearance of a conflict of interest or any impropriety,” Nadler continued. “Given your creation of a new ‘intake process’ for Mr. Giuliani, it is all the more important that you provide a complete explanation for your decision to sidestep standard Department practice.”
Barr was apparently all too happy to take Nadler up on that request—dispatching Boyd to draft the letter confirming the so-called Giuliani “intake process” has borne legal fruit.
And how. Boyd’s letter matter-of-factly dismisses with Nadler’s process concerns by simply claiming the New York Democrat is, in fact, basically just wrong to make such claims.
“The Deputy Attorney General’s efforts to coordinate matters potentially related to Ukraine, and to provide for the receipt of relevant information, does not circumvent the Department’s established channels,” the letter conclusorily notes. “The Department regularly assigns U.S. Attorneys to coordinate or focus on certain matters.”
The DOJ’s nonchalant admission of using Giuliani’s investigatory prowess comes just days after Trump himself offered a stunning reversal—telling Geraldo Rivera on a podcast that he personally sent his old friend to the Donbass looking for dirt.
“Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer?” Rivera quizzed the president. “Are you sorry you did that?”
To which Trump responded: “No, not at all.”
[image via ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images]