The Justice Department distanced itself Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, declaring that department officials would not have met with Giuliani to discuss one of his clients had they known that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating two of his associates.

Several weeks ago, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and lawyers from the division’s Fraud Section met with Giuliani to discuss a bribery case in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants.

That meeting took place before the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan publicly charged the two Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with breaking campaign finance laws and trying to unlawfully influence politicians, including former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Parnas and Fruman were part of Giuliani’s effort to push Ukraine for an inquiry into Democrats.