MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace expressed astonishment Monday that the Department of Justice has established a “process” to evaluate Ukraine information from Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — who has yet to publicly reveal any substantiation for any of his claims.
That’s when Wallace’s guest, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, quipped: “If you have a concocted conspiracy theory — that’s proven wrong by our entire intelligence community — and proven to be Russian propaganda, please call 1-800-Utter-BS.”
Far more seriously, Figliuzzi warned: “We’re heading into a direction where the attorney general no longer stands for justice.”
Wallace was reacting to news Sunday from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — confirmed by Attorney General William Barr Monday — that the DOJ would consider information from Giuliani, who claims to have yet-to-be-shared negative specifics about Trump’s political rival Joe Biden in Ukraine.
Wallace imagined a taxpayer-funded investigation wasting time delving into situations such as: “Rudy writes crap on napkins and, like, hands it to Lev Parnas? … This is bananas.”
Giuliani’s Ukrainian-American business associate Lev Parnas was allegedly his man-on-the-ground in Ukraine aiming to dig up dirt on Biden, but hasn’t indicated he found anything. Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, who has been indicted for alleged campaign finance violations, reminded Graham in a tweet Sunday that Parnas is eager to share what he knows about Ukraine and Biden. “Why not just let Lev speak?” — instead of going to a DOJ “back channel,” Bondy asked. “We’re here.”
News that the DOJ would be vetting information from Trump’s own attorney to smear a political rival drew a cascade of criticism.
“Can there possibly be one person on Earth who doesn’t get how crazy it is that Trump’s attorney general has set up a mechanism for Trump’s personal attorney to provide the Justice Department with dirt on Trump’s political rival?” Walter Shaub, former head of the federal Office of Government Ethics, asked on Twitter.
House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) attacked the apparent special arrangement for Giuliani in a letter to Barr on Monday. He also suggested the attorney general recuse himself from any investigation linked to Giuliani because Parnas has said Barr was “on the team” in the scheme to use the power of the U.S. to attack Biden with any information they could squeeze out of Ukraine officials.
Though Barr confirmed that the DOJ would evaluate Giuliani’s information, he also warned that officials “can’t take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value.”
Barr talks of the Giuliani channel to the DOJ at 6:48 on the video posted here:
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