Barr Taps Official to Receive Ukraine Tips From Giuliani, Others

February 19, 2020by Chris Strohm, Bloomberg News (TNS)
US-NEWS-TRUMP-IMPEACHMENT-20-ABA

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department designated a U.S. attorney’s office in New York state to coordinate and handle investigations and material related to Ukraine, including receiving information from President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

The department assigned Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to be its point person for handling and sorting Ukraine-related matters, according to a letter sent Tuesday to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

“Any and all new matters relating to Ukraine shall be directed exclusively to EDNY for investigation and appropriate handling,” according to a memo accompanying the letter.

The memo stated that “there currently 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 subject of the memo is “Coordination of Investigations.” It indicates the Justice Department is involved in far more Ukraine-related probes than may be publicly known.

The policy could open a new line of attack against Barr and the Justice Department leadership after a tumultuous week in which the top U.S. law enforcement officer seized control of cases tied to Trump, prompting a team of prosecutors to step down in one high-profile case. Over the weekend, more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials signed a letter condemning the attorney general.

Trump has repeatedly called for investigations regarding Ukraine, including into the activities of a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump has also given voice to discredited theories that Ukraine, not Russia, led efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

The memo released Tuesday says existing matters related to Ukraine will remain with the offices and components where they’re currently being handled but are now “subject to ongoing consultation with EDNY.”

Any move to widen or expand existing matters will require prior consultation with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s office and the Eastern District, according to the memo. That could create tension with ongoing investigations, especially in the Southern District of New York office in Manhattan, which is investigating Giuliani and two of his business associates.

The department assigned Donoghue “to coordinate existing matters and to assess, investigate and address any other matters relating to Ukraine, including the opening of any new investigations or the expansion of existing ones,” according to the memo.

Barr acknowledged last week that an intake process had been established for Giuliani to give the department information he collected in Ukraine, essentially bringing what was a stealth campaign into official government channels. The attorney general didn’t initially provide more information.

Giuliani previously said he was collecting information about the activities of Biden and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine. Giuliani’s efforts became a central factor in Trump’s impeachment for pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into the Bidens to help the president’s reelection. The president was acquitted by the Senate in early February.

Barr has not discussed matters related to Ukraine with Giuliani, according to the letter, which was signed by Stephen Boyd, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott Brady has been assigned to assist in receipt, processing and analysis of information provided by the public relating to Ukraine, according to the letter.

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