Sep 28, 2019

AG Bill Barr reportedly "surprised and angry" at Trump-Ukraine phone call

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr was "surprised and angry" to find that President Trump had grouped him together with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani during a controversial July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine, a source "familiar with Barr's thinking" tells the AP.

Between the lines: The anonymous leak to the AP suggests a possible effort by Barr to distance himself from the Ukraine scandal that ignited a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump last week. The whistleblower complaint at the heart of the scandal alleges that Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election by asking Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, and that both Giuliani and Barr appeared to be involved.

  • "I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it," Trump told Zelensky, according to a summary of the call released by the White House.
  • Justice Department officials say Barr was not aware of the phone call until mid-August. The acting director of national intelligence referred the whistleblower complaint as a possible violation of campaign finance law, but the Justice Department declined to open an investigation.

What to watch: Democrats have called on Barr to recuse himself from all matters related to the Ukraine investigation, since he is named in the whistleblower complaint and may have been involved in the administration's efforts to stop it from being turned over to Congress.

  • Giuliani and Barr are likely to face scrutiny from the House Intelligence Committee, which has already subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and scheduled a series of depositions and hearings next week as its impeachment investigation moves full steam ahead.

Go deeper: Whistleblower alleges Trump abused office to solicit foreign interference

Go deeper

House Democrats subpoena Rudy Giuliani for Ukraine documents

Photo: Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani has been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee to produce documents by Oct. 15 related to his and President Trump's alleged efforts to push the government of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Over the past year, Giuliani has met with a variety of Ukrainian officials in an effort to investigate baseless allegations that Biden forced Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating his son, Hunter. In a July phone call that is now at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, Trump asked Ukraine's president to work with Giuliani to investigate Biden — prompting allegations by a whistleblower that Trump was soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019

Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House's impeachment inquiry has been driven forward by new disclosures of what exactly President Trump wanted the government of Ukraine to do — revealed in 3 key documents, but nonetheless distorted and disputed along the way.

We've gathered the key players, events and disclosures of the Trump-Ukraine saga in one place to clear up what's happened so far and examine where we go from here.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Misleading Trump tweet claims Ukraine whistleblower complaint "not holding up"

President Trump tweeted Monday that the Ukraine whistleblower's complaint is "mostly" about his call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that its account of the call is "a fraud" — 2 claims disproven by both the complaint itself and the memo of the call released by the White House.

"The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up. It is mostly about the call to the Ukrainian President which, in the name of transparency, I immediately released to Congress & the public. The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!"
Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019