CNN legal analyst explains why Barr hasn't recused himself from Ukraine — even though he must
Attorney General William Barr. (Screenshot/YouTube)

On CNN Wednesday morning, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that Attorney General William Barr is a "central figure" in the Ukraine scandal who will face pressure to recuse himself.


On that day's edition of "The Situation Room," Toobin elaborated further on why Barr cannot ethically involve himself in the process — and the key reason he is anyway.

"I just like to call attention to the issue of Attorney General William Barr," said Toobin. "He is in charge of the Justice Department today and leading an effort to keep all of the documents secret, the whistleblower request, the transcript, for other reasons they became public, but his legal position was they should remain secret. They come to the public, and we see that the attorney general is at the heart of the president's appeal to the president of the Ukraine. The president is saying, 'You gotta talk to my attorney general. You got to get my attorney general involved in this.' How is it even conceivable that he is not recused from anything?"

"The heart of the accusation against Donald Trump from — that has arisen in the last week is that he has had an improper, unconstitutional relationship, effort, in terms of his interactions with the government of Ukraine," added Toobin. "A key part of his effort to get dirt from the government of Ukraine on his political opponent Joe Biden is to get the government of Ukraine to talk to his attorney general. To provide that information to the attorney general. How can the attorney general possibly supervise an investigation in which he's clearly a witness?"

But, Toobin noted, the previous attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was in a similar legal situation and recused himself from the Russia investigation — and Trump was enraged. So Barr may decide to ignore the rules.

"Jeff Sessions did the right thing," said Toobin. "And I think anyone who knows anything about the recusal rules of the American legal system knows Jeff Sessions did the right thing. Donald Trump thought he did the wrong thing, and he's not going to want Barr to — but that doesn't make it any less right."

Watch below: