The Justice Department says it has no record that Attorney General William Barr formally considered recusing himself from investigations related to President Donald Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign — despite multiple pieces of evidence that showed Barr’s personal involvement with the scheme.
The whistleblower complaint that sparked the House’s Ukraine investigation implicated Barr in Trump’s effort to coerce a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election. Moreover, the partial transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky showed Trump telling the Ukrainian president to work with Barr in investigating the Bidens. Given the appearance of Barr’s involvement in Trump’s corrupt scheme, many, including members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, called upon the attorney general to recuse himself from any Ukraine- or Biden-related investigations.
In December, as the House’s impeachment investigation was in full swing, American Oversight filed FOIA requests with the Justice Department for any ethics or recusal guidance provided to Barr, as well as for related communications, to find out how the department was handling such a serious matter.
Its answer a few months later was not encouraging. We already knew that Barr had ignored the requests that he recuse himself, but according to the Justice Department, there existed no records of communications about whether he should do so, and no formal guidance or recommendations on possible recusal or the handling of the whistleblower complaint.
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