'Just another fake news story': Trump denies he wanted Barr to publicly clear him

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Attorney General William Barr before Trump signed an executive order creating a commission to study law enforcement and justice at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Convention Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Chicago.


By ZEKE MILLER AND JILL COLVIN | Associated Press | Published: November 7, 2019

WASHINGTON — In a tweet on Thursday, President Donald Trump ridiculed The Washington Post, which reported that he wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a press conference to declare he broke no laws during his July phone conversation with Ukraine's president.

The claim "is totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story with anonymous sources that don't exist," Trump said. To the delight of his followers, the president also continued to refer to the press as "The LameStream Media" and to be the "Enemy of the People."

According to The Post's annonymous source, Barr rebuffed the president's request, which came in September, around the time that the White House released a rough transcript of the July 25 call at the center of the House impeachment probe.

The person familiar with the matter said Trump has continued to express irritation at Barr's refusal to publicly speak out in his defense, though other officials later explained the department's reasoning. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.

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 he did nothing wrong.

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

A statement from the Justice Department in September announced 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."

Ahead of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian election meddling, Barr declared that investigators had found "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia.

While the declaration drew praise from Trump, it also raised alarms among critics wary of Barr's independence after the attorney general released a letter summarizing the reports' conclusions, which Mueller later complained "did not fully capture the context, nature and substance" of the full report and led to "public confusion about critical aspects of the results of" the investigation.

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