Cornyn makes waves with tweet about Justice investigating Biden

Republican Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' MORE (Texas) created waves Friday with a tweet that said the Department of Justice is investigating Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger pens op-ed in defense of Biden: 'I stuttered once, too. I dare you to mock me' MORE, a leading Democratic presidential candidate.

Cornyn, a close adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner MORE (R-Ky.), wrote in the tweet that “the Trump Justice Department is investigating foreign government influence, VP Biden conflicts of interest, and possible corruption.”


Cornyn’s tweet immediately attracted attention, as any effort by Trump’s Justice Department to investigate a leading Democratic rival will stir controversy and prompt charges from Democrats that Trump is abusing his power for personal political gain.

It’s not clear, however, whether Justice is actually investigating Biden.

A Cornyn aide said his boss was referring to the ongoing investigation by John DurhamJohn DurhamJim Comey's damaging legacy at the FBI must be undone Federal prosecutor looking into Brennan's role in Russian interference findings: report The Hill's Morning Report - Vulnerable Dems are backing Trump impeachment MORE, the U.S. attorney in New Haven, Conn., whom Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrDems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Pentagon to place new restrictions, monitoring on foreign military students Parnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' MORE tapped in May to investigate the origins of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials in 2016.

Cornyn also stated on Twitter that the Justice Department is probing “the provenance of the bogus opposition research compiled for the Clinton campaign produced by an ex-British spy,” referring to a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, who at one point worked as an FBI informant and is believed to be central to the FBI’s decision to conduct a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

The Department of Justice did not respond immediately to a request for comment from The Hill.

Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the department, told The Middletown Press last month that Durham “is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign counties.”

“At Attorney General Barr’s request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials,” she said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 phone call to investigate Biden as well as the possibility that individuals based in Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

That phone call later triggered a whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump abused the power of this office. It also helped launch an impeachment inquiry from the House.

Asked on Friday whether the Justice Department is investigating Biden, Trump told reporters to refer the question to Barr.

"Well, that you’d have to ask Attorney General Barr, but I can tell you just as an observer, what I saw Biden do with his son, he is pillaging these countries and he is hurting us,” the president said.

In a nine-page complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general, an unnamed whistleblower raised concern that Ukrainian officials were working with the Department of Justice to investigate Biden as well as allegations that Ukrainian officials had interfered in the 2016 election.

In the complaint, the whistleblower notes that “in several public comments, Mr. Lutsenko also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters,” referring to Ukraine’s former prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko.

In a footnote, the whistleblower questioned whether Durham was investigating Biden as part of his broader probe into how the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials originated.

“In an interview with Fox News on 8 August, Mr. Giuliani claimed that Mr. John Durham, whom Attorney General Barr designated to lead this probe, was 'spending a lot of time in Europe' because he was 'investigating Ukraine.' I do not know the extent to which, if at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with Attorney General Barr or Mr. Durham,” the whistleblower wrote, making reference to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDemocrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Trump lawyers attack House impeachment as 'brazen and unlawful' effort to overturn 2016 results Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE.

Trump last year demanded the Department of Justice investigate whether the Justice Department under former President Obama “infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes.”

The FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials in July of 2016, and in March of 2016 the FBI interviewed Trump campaign adviser Carter Page about his contacts in Russia.

Prior to the launch of that investigation, the FBI was working with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the author of a dossier alleging a variety of improper conduct by Trump, then a candidate, as a confidential informant.

Trump’s allies in the Republican Party suspect the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s campaign may have been politically motivated.

GOP lawmakers in recent days have also raised concerns about payments of as high as $50,000 a month that Hunter Biden received as the paid board member of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated in Ukraine for possible corruption.

Ukraine’s new top prosecutor, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, announced on Friday that he plans to review 15 past high-profile cases handled by previous prosecutors general, including the past investigation of Burisma.

The previous Ukrainian prosecutor general, Lutsenko, said late last month that he did not think Hunter Biden violated any Ukrainian laws.

Morgan Chalfant contributed.