Report: Trump wanted Barr to tell the public he broke no laws in Ukraine call

William Barr.
(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

In late September, President Trump wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference and tell reporters that Trump didn't break any laws during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

The appeal made its way from the White House to the Justice Department, but Barr ultimately turned Trump down, the Post reports. During the phone call, Trump asked Zelensky to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The White House released a reconstructed partial transcript of the call on Sept. 25. Several Trump advisers told associates that while Trump wishes Barr had held the news conference, they are still on good terms, the Post reports.

The transcript shows that Trump told Zelensky he should investigate the Bidens with Barr's assistance, but a spokeswoman said Barr never spoke to Trump about this. A person close to the Trump administration told the Post they believe "Barr hasn't changed one bit, that he has had a healthy distance from the beginning. He knows the parameters of the relationship between a president and an AG." Barr has had Trump's back throughout his tenure, including in the aftermath of the Mueller report's release, when Barr announced he had reviewed the matter and determined Trump did not obstruct justice.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.