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| Trump reportedly wanted AG Barr to hold a press conference defending the president's call with Ukraine. Barr said no. |
Attorney General William Barr reportedly declined a request by President Donald Trump to hold a press conference defending Trump's incendiary call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which spurred the House to open up an impeachment inquiry.
The call was the subject of an anonymous whistleblower complaint filed in August that accused Trump of "using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election," in particular, asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden to aid Trump politically.
When the memo of the call was released, a Justice Department spokeswoman told The Post that officials had investigated the call, along with the whistleblower complaint, to see if laws had been broken and determined that "no further action was warranted."
During that time, the request from Trump that Barr hold a press conference on the matter was relayed to other White House officials before making its way to the Justice Department, according to The Post, though Barr ultimately declined the request from his boss. It is unclear how the request was delivered and why Barr declined.
Trump advisers told The Post that Trump has recently mentioned Barr's refusal to make a televised statement on the matter and wishes he would have done so.
Despite their differences in opinion, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told The Post that Trump and Barr remain on good terms: "The President has nothing but respect for AG 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."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In the days leading up to the July 25 call, Trump ordered his administration to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine. Among other things, House investigators are working to determine whether there was quid pro quo arrangement, in which Trump would release the aid money to Ukraine in exchange for political investigations.
The White House has vowed it will not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, which was formalized last week with a vote in the House. Over a dozen witnesses have been interviewed in the inquiry so far.
Trump maintains that the call was "perfect" and has tweeted that people should "read the transcript," referring to the summary of the call. Last week, Trump told conservative outlet the Washington Examiner that he wanted to read aloud the summary of his call during a "fireside chat on live television."
"This is over a phone call that is a good call," Trump told the outlet. "At some point, I'm going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it's a straight call."