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WaPo: Barr Turned Down Trump Press Conference Request

Sources say president asked Barr to declare no laws were broken in Ukraine call
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 6:17 AM CST
Updated Nov 7, 2019 6:47 AM CST
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Attorney General William Barr, right, walks past Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., before President Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House about his judicial appointments, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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(Newser) – As the controversy over President Trump's phone call with Ukraine's president deepened, Trump found out that there was something Attorney General William Barr wouldn't do for him, insiders say. The Washington Post, citing "people familiar with the matter," reports that Trump asked Barr to hold a press conference to declare that no laws had been broken, but the attorney general declined to do so. The sources say Trump and Barr remain on good terms, but Trump has been telling associates in recent weeks that he wishes Barr had held the press conference. The Post's sources say the request came around Sept. 25, when Trump released a rough transcript of the call with Volodymyr Zelensky that led to a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry.

It's not clear why Barr turned down the request—or how forcefully it was made—although sources tell the New York Times that Trump was satisfied when the Justice Department issued a statement saying it had reviewed the call and found that "there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted." The White House has pushed back hard against the Post report. "The president has nothing but respect for AG Barr ... and no amount of shady sources with clear intent to divide, smear, and slander will change that," said deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley. Trump tweeted Wednesday night that it was "just another FAKE NEWS story with anonymous sources that don't exist." (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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