Justice officials have said Attorney General William Barr was briefed on the case in February upon taking office. Information about the case also was shared with the public integrity lawyers working in Benczkowski’s division.
A person familiar with the matter said that at the time, Giuliani wasn’t a central figure in the case as he is now. That emerged in recent weeks, the person said.
Still, New York federal prosecutors had their eyes set on Giuliani months ago. A New York lawyer told CNN that FBI counterintelligence agents asked him questions in February or March related to Giuliani and his associates.
The Justice statement marks the second time in recent days that the department has publicly distanced itself from the collateral political damage surrounding Giuliani and his activities at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into the President.