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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

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

8 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.