WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has begun receiving information obtained by Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, from Ukraine about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday.
Mr. Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a vocal Trump ally, said Attorney General William P. Barr told him in a telephone call early Sunday morning that the department was “receiving information coming out” of Ukraine delivered by Mr. Giuliani.
“He told me that they have created a process that Rudy could give information and they would see if it’s verified,” Mr. Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment on Mr. Graham’s assertion. The department has previously taken steps to distance itself from Mr. Giuliani, and in September, it said Mr. Barr had “not discussed anything relating to Ukraine” with Mr. Giuliani.
The Trump administration’s effort to dig up damaging information in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals was at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, which resulted last week in Mr. Trump’s acquittal by the Senate.
Mr. Trump and his allies have since signaled a continuing effort to investigate the business relationship Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, had with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, and whether the elder Mr. Biden acted improperly to benefit Burisma when he was vice president. There is no evidence behind the claim that Mr. Biden intervened inappropriately with Ukraine to help his son, and Mr. Graham expressed new wariness on Sunday of the information Mr. Giuliani might be collecting.
“Any documents coming out of the Ukraine against any American, Republican or Democrat, need to be looked at by the intelligence services who has expertise that I don’t,” Mr. Graham said, “because Russia is playing us all like a fiddle.”
The receipt of information from Mr. Giuliani does not mean that the Justice Department will open any investigation into Mr. Biden or his son. The attorney general issued a memo last week saying that he must clear the opening of any investigation into a presidential candidate.
Mr. Graham’s remarks came after Mr. Giuliani claimed in an interview on Saturday night with Fox News that he had found a “smoking gun” in his investigation into the Bidens and called on Mr. Graham to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.
“We’ve got the documents, Lindsey,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Mr. Graham had indicated in the fall that he would use the power of his Judiciary Committee gavel to investigate the Bidens’ work in Ukraine, requesting documents from the State Department and the Secret Service. In December, he invited Mr. Giuliani to testify before his committee about the trip he took to Ukraine in an effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
On Sunday, Mr. Graham cited conversations with Mr. Barr and Senator Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican who is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, for his new skepticism of the information.
Asked if he thought Mr. Giuliani was being used by the Russians, Mr. Graham responded, “I don’t know.”
“I’m saying that anybody who has got any information coming from the Ukraine needs to turn it over to the intelligence community,” he replied.
Katie Benner contributed reporting.