Bill Barr is 'a central figure' in the Ukraine scandal and must recuse himself: CNN's Jeffrey Toobin
Jeffrey Toobin -- CNN screenshot

On Wednesday, the White House released a rough transcript of President Donald Trump's call with Ukrainian leaders, not only confirming the president pressured them to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, but also revealing that he urged them to get in touch with Attorney General William Barr to help.

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down why this is a huge development — and why it could mean that Barr will face unavoidable pressure to recuse himself from any Ukraine investigation just as his predecessor Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from Russia.

"I think the legal complexities could get considerable very quickly," said Toobin. "But it is certainly possible and it certainly seems to be the basis of this investigation, this criminal investigation that the president was seeking a thing of value from a foreign source, and possible — and I emphasize possible, violation of American campaign finance law. That seems to be the basis of the criminal referral which now is before attorney general William Barr. William Barr is in this transcript. William Barr becomes a very important person in this investigation at several different levels. He is now presumably, at least for the time being unless he has to recuse himself, in charge of deciding what to do with this criminal referral. He is also someone that the president is saying in this transcript, talk to him, Mr. President, Mr. Zelensky, president of Ukraine, cooperate with him in the investigation of my rival Biden."

"So William Barr is now a central figure in all of this — these developments," added Toobin. "Unless he recuses himself, and in light of his being all over this transcript he is going to have a lot of pressure to recuse himself."

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