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Lindsey Graham says new DOJ "process" will let Giuliani turn over info on the Bidens

Graham "not sure" if Giuliani is getting "played" by Russia
Graham says he's "not sure" if Giuliani is getting "played" by Russia 12:00

Washington — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the Justice Department has created a process through which Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, can submit information he collected in Ukraine to be vetted.

"The Department of Justice is receiving information coming out of the Ukraine from Rudy," Graham, of South Carolina, said on "Face the Nation." "[Attorney General Bill Barr] told me that they have created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it's verified."

Graham, a key ally of the president's, said he spoke with Barr on Sunday morning, as well as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican. He said they urged him to "take very cautiously" information from Ukraine against Republicans and Democrats.

"If Rudy Giuliani has any information coming out of the Ukraine, he needs to turn it over to the Department of Justice because it could be Russian propaganda," Graham said, making a stern plea for Giuliani and all U.S. politicians to be wary of that information because it "may be backed by Russian misinformation."

When pressed on whether Giuliani is being "played" by the Russians, the South Carolina senator said he didn't know.

"I'm telling Rudy, you think you've got the goods? Don't give it to me, because what do we know? We know the Russian disinformation campaign was used against President Trump. They hacked into the DNC system, not the Ukrainians, and they're on the ground all over the world trying to affect democracy," Graham said.

Giuliani traveled to Ukraine late last year in the midst of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump, which centered around his dealings with the country and efforts to pressure Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to publicly announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

During his trip, Giuliani met with former Ukrainian prosecutors who claimed to have knowledge of unsubstantiated wrongdoing by Biden and others, and said in December he planned to draft a report of his findings for congressional Republicans and the attorney general.

But Graham said any information should be vetted and verified by the intelligence community.

"Rudy Giuliani is a well-known man. He's a crime fighter. He's loyal to the president. He's a good lawyer," Graham said. "But what I'm trying to say to the president and anybody else is, the Russians are still up to it. Deterrence is not working."

The South Carolina senator, who retired from the Air Force in 2015 after 33 years, also defended the ousting of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council (NSC) and Gordon Sondland from his position as U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Both Sondland and Vindman testified publicly before the House in the impeachment inquiry.

"I think his reassignment was justified. I don't think he could be effective at the NSC," Graham said of Vindman. "As much as I support our military people telling the truth when asked — it's important they do — what have I learned in the last two years? CIA agents, Department of State, Department of Justice lawyers, FBI agents have a political agenda and they acted on it."

Graham said Sondland, meanwhile, was a political appointee who serves at the pleasure of the president.

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