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Trump Wanted Barr To Publicly Clear Him On Ukraine Call. Here’s How Barr Responded.

President Donald Trump reportedly wanted Attorney General William Barr to publicly clear him of any wrongdoing over his Ukraine phone call in July but Barr ultimately declined to do so.

“The request from Trump traveled from the president to other White House officials and eventually to the Justice Department,” The Washington Post reported. “The president has mentioned Barr’s demurral to associates in recent weeks, saying he wished Barr would have held the news conference, Trump advisers say.”

“As the rough transcript was released, a Justice Department spokeswoman said officials had evaluated it and the whistleblower complaint to see whether campaign finance laws had been broken, determined that none had been and decided “no further action was warranted,” The Post added. “It was not immediately clear why Barr would not go beyond that statement with a televised assertion that the president broke no laws, nor was it clear how forcefully the president’s desire was communicated.”
The New York Times also reported that two sources indicated that Barr declined to hold the press conference.
“Mr. Barr had been involved in the decision to release the transcript of the call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky, according to multiple White House officials, and a Justice Department official said at the time that he supported the idea of being transparent,” The Times reported. “But Mr. Barr decided against holding the news conference.”
The White House released a rough transcript of the call which Trump’s opponents claim shows a quid pro quo even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he did not feel any pressure from Trump to investigate former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Reports that Barr has sought to distance himself from the White House over the Ukraine phone call are likely in part due to the fact that Barr was reportedly angered over the fact that Trump had tied him in with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, during the phone call.
During the call, Trump told Zelensky, “I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it.”
“Trump repeatedly told Ukraine’s president in a telephone call that Barr and Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani could help investigate Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to a rough transcript of that summertime conversation,” The Associated Press reported at the end of September. “Justice Department officials insist Barr was unaware of Trump’s comments at the time of the July 25 call.”
The Associated Press continued: “When Barr did learn of that call a few weeks later, he was ‘surprised and angry’ to discover he had been lumped in with Giuliani, a person familiar with Barr’s thinking told The Associated Press. This person was not authorized to speak about the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.”
The Department of Justice did not comment on either The Washington Post’s report or The New York Times’ report.
However, Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley did release a statement, writing: “The president has nothing but respect for A.G. Barr and greatly appreciates the work he’s done on behalf of the country, and no amount of shady sources with clear intent to divide, smear and slander will change that.”

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