TRUMP DE­NIES ask­ing Barr to say call broke no laws.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Front Page -

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day de­nied a re­port that he had re­quested that At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr hold a news con­fer­ence to de­clare that Trump broke no laws dur­ing a July phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian coun­ter­part to in­ves­ti­gate some Democrats.

Trump tweeted just af­ter mid­night that the story, first re­ported by The Wash­ing­ton Post, “is to­tally un­true and just an­other FAKE NEWS story with anony­mous sources that don’t ex­ist.”

He con­tin­ued to lash out at the me­dia, declar­ing “The LameStream Me­dia” to be the “En­emy of the Peo­ple.”

The Post re­ported that Barr re­buffed the re­quest, which came in Septem­ber around the time the White House re­leased a memo de­tail­ing Trump’s July 25 call at the cen­ter of the House impeachmen­t probe. The news­pa­per, cit­ing uniden­ti­fied peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the ef­fort, said the re­quest was re­layed from the pres­i­dent to White House of­fi­cials, and then to the Justice Depart­ment.

House Democrats are in­ves­ti­gat­ing Trump’s pres­sure on Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate po­lit­i­cal ri­vals as aid money was be­ing with­held from the Eastern Euro­pean coun­try.

Trump in­sists that he did noth­ing wrong.

“Just read the Tran­script,” he wrote Thurs­day. “The Justice Depart­ment al­ready ruled that the call was good.”

That ap­pears to be a ref­er­ence to a state­ment from the Justice Depart­ment in Septem­ber an­nounc­ing that the depart­ment’s Crim­i­nal Di­vi­sion “re­viewed the of­fi­cial record of the call and de­ter­mined, based on the facts and ap­pli­ca­ble law, that there was no cam­paign fi­nance vi­o­la­tion and that no fur­ther ac­tion was war­ranted.”

Barr held a news con­fer­ence ahead of the re­lease of for­mer spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s re­port into Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling. Barr painted what many saw as an overly flat­ter­ing pic­ture as it re­lated to Trump and re­peat­edly de­clared that in­ves­ti­ga­tors had found “no col­li­sion” between the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia, a point Trump had seized on to claim vin­di­ca­tion.

While the ap­pear­ance drew praise from Trump, it raised alarms from crit­ics al­ready wary of his in­de­pen­dence af­ter Barr re­leased a let­ter sum­ma­riz­ing the re­ports’ conclusion­s, which Mueller later com­plained “did not fully cap­ture the con­text, na­ture and sub­stance” of the en­tire re­port and led to “pub­lic con­fu­sion about crit­i­cal as­pects of the re­sults of” the investigat­ion.

Trump con­tin­ued to lash out at the me­dia, declar­ing “The LameStream Me­dia” to be the “En­emy of the Peo­ple.”

AP/PA­TRICK SE­MAN­SKY

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell (left) and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr at­tend an event Wed­nes­day at the White House on ju­di­cial ap­point­ments. More photos at arkansason­line.com/118barr/

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