Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe

Senate Democrats are asking the Justice Department's top watchdog to expand its investigation into Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani becomes grandfather after son welcomes child Press: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Former NYC police commissioner to testify before Jan. 6 committee, demands apology MORE, Trump's personal lawyer, to include contacts with DOJ officials. 
 
Ten Democrats sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz asking that an ongoing probe into Giuliani's contacts with FBI officials include if he had "improper communications" with senior DOJ officials. 
 
"We are concerned that Mr. Giuliani’s interactions with senior DOJ officials may have unduly influenced or created conflicts of interests with regard to DOJ activities. At a minimum, Mr. Giuliani’s access creates an appearance of impropriety that could undermine trust in the agency," they wrote in the letter to Horowitz
 
"If his contacts do not violate one or more of these provisions, further internal guidance may be needed to ensure that DOJ delivers 'fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans,'" they added. 
 
Democratic Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? New variant raises questions about air travel mandates Progressive groups urge Feinstein to back filibuster carve out for voting rights or resign MORE (Calif.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (R.I.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinFour questions that deserve answers at the Guantanamo oversight hearing Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Conservatives target Biden pick for New York district court MORE (Ill.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden should seek some ideological diversity House passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy Klobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas MORE (Minn.), Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  MORE (Del.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Democrats call out Biden Supreme Court commission Midterm gloom grows for Democrats MORE (Hawaii), Cory BookerCory BookerMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisJoe Manchin should embrace paid leave — now The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends disappointing jobs report Harris's office undergoes difficult reset MORE (Calif.) signed the letter. Each of the 10 Democrats are on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
 
Horowitz told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee late last year that he was "very concerned" about leaks from FBI field offices to Giuliani. 
 
"We are investigating those contacts. We've issued a couple of public summaries so far about people we've found violated FBI policy. We have other investigations ongoing," Horowitz said at the time.
 
Giuliani has emerged as a controversial, but central, figure in recent months after he found himself caught up in the months-long impeachment fight and Trump's efforts to have Ukraine help investigate Democrats. 
 
Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky if he would work with Giuliani and help "look into" former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, according to a partial transcript released by the White House. 
 
The Democratic senators also included multiple reports referencing Giuliani's contacts with DOJ officials as part of an appendix to their letter to Horowitz. 
 
"These reports suggest that Mr. Giuliani has used his relationship with the President, including his representation of the President as a private citizen, to gain improper access to attorneys and investigators in the agency, particularly political appointees who serve at the President’s pleasure," they wrote.

"Various federal laws and regulations, as well as DOJ policies and procedures, are in place to prevent improper influence and actual or apparent conflicts of interest," they added. 
 
CNN reported last month that Giuliani met with Brian Benczkowski, assistant attorney general for the criminal division, as part of a case involving a Venezuelan businessman and that Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHolding defiant Trump witnesses to account, Jan. 6 committee carries out Congress's constitutional role Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official Appeals court questions Biden DOJ stance on Trump obstruction memo MORE dropped in on the meeting. 
 
Giuliani, according to Reuters, urged DOJ officials to "go easy" on a Venezuelan businessman, though Giuliani declined to confirm that the meeting took place or whether the businessman was a client. 
 
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.) grabbed headlines earlier this month when he suggested during an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation" that Giuliani could take any Ukraine findings to the Justice Department. 
 
He said Barr had told him that "they had created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it's verified."
 
Barr later confirmed that he had created an "open door" for individuals, including Giuliani, who had information coming from Ukraine. 

"There are a lot of agendas in the Ukraine, a lot of crosscurrents, and we can’t take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value,” Barr said during a press conference.