Democratic senators, including Kamala Harris, requested Friday that the Department of Justice provide documents related to a reported attempt by President Trump to get Attorney General William Barr to hold a hearing. news conference announcing that he did not break any laws in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Sens. Harris, D-Calif., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., And Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Barr after The Washington Post reported that Trump had request around September 25., when the administration released a transcript of the call.
TRUMP PUSHES BACK IN BARR DENIED REQUEST REPORT FOR PRESS CONFERENCE CLEARING HIM ON UKRAINE
The outlet reported that Trump told colleagues he wanted Barr to hold a news conference, in the midst of increasing the House impeachment probe surrounding the call. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Trump's desire for a public announcement from Barr was discussed with White House officials, in which case he returned that desire to the Justice Department. However, the outlet reported that it could not be determined how hard Trump pressed for a news conference ̵1; or the reason for Barr's refusal.
"These reports raised serious concerns about the president's perception of the Justice Department as a partisan political instrument and his willingness to exercise federal law enforcement power in pursuit of his own goals. , "the senators wrote on the request.
"We submit the FOIA request to obtain communications, documents, and other information relating to the president's reported request that you hold a news conference to misrepresent him in his call with the president. of Ukraine, "the request said.
The Democratic House says the call, in which Trump urged Zelensky to "look into" allegations about former Vice President Joe Biden and Ukraine's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, was part of a quid pro quo involving restraint of US military assistance that has not been temporarily blocked by the White House. Trump rejected a quid quo pro as Ukrainians said there was no pressure from the White House.
Trump also rejected reports.
"Bill Barr has not denied my request to talk about Ukraine," he tweeted Thursday morning. "The story is a work of the Fake Washington Post con with an & # 39; anonymous & # 39; source that does not exist. Just read the Transcript. The Department of Justice has decided that the call is good. freedom of the press! ”
Trump then tweeted a more firm rebuttal:" The bad Washington Post MAKES a story about me asking Bill Barr to hold a news conference. It never happened, and there were no resources! "This, after he tweeted earlier called the story" completely untrue and another FAKE NEWS story with no non-existent sources. "
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The request from the senators was to call on all memos and correspondence involving Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffery Rosen or the attorney general's office since August 14 as well as phrases including "Ukraine," " Zelensky, "" transcript, "" journalist "and" news conference. "" If President Trump's understanding that such reports are & # 39; pure fiction & # 39; and 'Fake News' is absolutely correct, so the Justice Department should not have a problem with processing our request quickly, "the senators wrote.
Fox News & # 39; Jason Donner contributed to this report.