Impeachment watch: Trump wanted Barr to declare he didn't break the law on Ukraine call

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Attorney General William Barr, who has spun for Trump in the past, declined to get involved in the impeachment inquiry, the Washington Post reported.

Donald Trump once again tried to use the Department of Justice to do his political bidding, reportedly requesting that Attorney General William Barr hold a news conference to declare that Trump didn't break any laws when he asked the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rivals on a July 25 phone call, the Washington Post reported Wednesday night.

Barr — who has played defense for Trump by inaccurately spinning the results from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and by announcing probes into whether Mueller's probe was legal — declined Trump's request, according to the Washington Post's report.

Of course, the Justice Department had been involved in an attempt to bury the initial whistleblower complaint that led to the impeachment inquiry in the first place, something that House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff decried in a letter to Barr on September 24.

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The White House has struggled to defend Trump as the House impeachment inquiry speeds along, with multiple witnesses providing evidence that Trump withheld security aid to Ukraine in order to force the country to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

The White House and Republican lawmakers started by attacking the impeachment probe process and now have landed on declaring that quid pro quos, like the one Trump demanded of Ukraine, are not illegal.

Here's what else is happening in impeachment news:

  • The impeachment inquiry will officially go public next week, when the House Intelligence Committee will hold public hearings. The hearings begin on Wednesday with the top U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. On Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify.
  • The House Intelligence Committee released a transcript of its interview with Taylor. Taylor confirmed that Trump was holding up aid to Ukraine in order to force an inquiry into Trump's political rivals and that the intelligence community tried to convince him to release the aid because of how important it was to ensure Ukraine could fend off Russian aggression. In one bombshell revelation, Taylor said that Trump's request to purchase Greenland — which was treated as a joke and never came to fruition — was an impediment to getting leaders of the intelligence community together to convince Trump to release the aid.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has come up with a new way to defend Trump in the impeachment inquiry: He says Trump is too inept to force a quid pro quo.
  • The White House is bringing on two new aides to help the White House come up with a coherent argument against the impeachment inquiry: former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury Department spokesperson Tony Sayegh, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bondi made news ahead of the 2016 election when she received a $25,000 donation from Trump before endorsing his presidential bid.
  • Former national security adviser is scheduled to testify on Thursday in the impeachment probe. It's unclear whether he'll show up.

Come back tomorrow for more impeachment news.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.