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Trump and Barr in the Rose Garden in July 2019. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr declined President Trump's request to declare via a news conference that the president "had broken no laws" during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Washington Post and ABC News reported Wednesday. Trump denied the report in a late-night tweet.

The big picture: The president's reported request, made "sometime around Sept. 25," coincides with the day the administration's released its memorandum of the Trump-Ukraine call, which helped launch an impeachment inquiry into the president.

  • According to the White House memo, Trump told Zelensky to work with Barr and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to look into allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden fired a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating his son Hunter Biden.

Details: It is not clear "how forcefully" the president’s request for Barr to hold a news conference was communicated and it traveled through White House officials before reaching the Department of Justice, per WashPost.

What they're saying: "The DOJ did in fact release a statement about the call and the claim that it resulted in tension because it wasn’t a news conference is completely false," a senior administration official tells Axios’ Alayna Treene.

  • The official said Trump praises Barr publicly and privately and did not explicitly confirm or deny if the president requested the attorney general to hold a news conference on the July 25 call.
  • The idea that Trump is "upset about a phantom request for a press conference is ridiculous," the official said.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper: Trump asked Ukraine to work with Giuliani, Barr to investigate Biden

Go deeper

Updated 4 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."

5 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.