A months-old exchange between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Attorney General William Barr has taken on new significance since the release of a call summary involving President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart. During that July 25 call, the president repeatedly asks Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son, and tells the foreign leader he will have the U.S. attorney general and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani call to discuss developments in that probe. Giuliani revealed May 9 that he was planning a trip to Kiev to encourage the Ukrainian government to investigate the origins of Russia investigation and allegations of corruption against Biden, the former vice president and Democratic presidential frontrunner. “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” Giuliani told the New York Times. “There’s nothing illegal about it … I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” Later that month, Trump authorized Barr to declassify any information or intelligence related to the origins of the Russia probe, and Harris — also a Democratic presidential candidate — pressed the attorney general on that topic in a May 1 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?” Harris said. The attorney general paused and stumbled, before asking the senator to repeat her question. “I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest,’” Barr finally replied. “I mean, there have been discussions of, of matters out there that, uh — they have not asked me to open an investigation.” Harris afterward asked the Justice Department inspector general to investigate whether Barr had received or complied with any requests to investigate the president’s perceived enemies. It’s not clear whether Harris was concerned only with Barr’s investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller and his probe, or whether she had information linking him to the Ukraine dealings involving Trump and Giuliani.
.@SenKamalaHarris: Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested you open an investigation into anyone?
BARR: ….. ah …..
HARRIS: Seems like something you should be able to answer
BARR: I don’t know ……. pic.twitter.com/8FIqrGzSrm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 1, 2019