MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - United States Attorney General William Barr says he does not recall a request by the White House to publicly defend President Trump over the July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which has become a central focus of the U.S House impeachment inquiry.
Barr was visiting Memphis Wednesday to announce an initiative to reduce gun violence. WMC Action News 5’s Brandon Richard asked the attorney general if Trump had made such a request and if so why the attorney general declined it.
“I don’t remember any such request,” Barr said. “My recollection is that I told the White House that we would do what we would normally do and that is to issue a press statement, which we did and that is not an issue.”
It was the first time Barr has spoken publicly about the matter.
The Washington Post first reported, according to their sources, Trump wanted Barr to hold a news conference to declare the commander in chief had broken no laws.
In a tweet after the story was published, Trump said “Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine. The story was a Fake Washington Post con job with an ‘anonymous’ source that doesn’t exist.”
Barr also confirmed that the Justice Department inspector general is getting closer to releasing an investigation about the early stages of the FBI’s Russia investigation.
Barr says people who are mentioned in the report have the opportunity to comment on it. Once that’s over, he says the report will be released.
President Trump has long said, without any evidence, that the FBI's Russia investigation was a hoax.
This report could support the president’s argument, or it could show the opposite.
Public hearings began Wednesday in the House impeachment inquiry to determine if the president violated his oath of office. The question is if he tried to withhold foreign aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate political rivals.