The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed on Monday that Attorney General William Barr reached out to #DonaldTrump to request for Trump to introduce him to several foreign leaders, as a part of a probe into intelligence gathering. The gathering was regarding the 2016 presidential election that eventually led to the Russia investigation.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said that Trump did indeed contact other countries to introduce Barr as well as John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, who is reviewing the American intelligence agencies’ examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Durham is conducting an inquiry into the origins of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Earlier this year, Mueller completed his report with an inconclusive finding about Trump, and although the president was not charged with any crimes, Mueller made it clear that he did not exonerate Trump. Trump was apparently outraged over the entire investigation, previously calling it a “witch hunt,” and he immediately called for an investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe.
Kupec said that “At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.”
The New York Times reported that Trump called Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia to request assistance in helping Barr gather information for the Russia inquiry.
However, Morrison’s office said in a statement, “The Australian government has always been ready to assist and cooperate with efforts that help shed further light on the matters under investigation.”
Reports also state that Barr held meetings overseas in Italy seeking the country’s help, in addition to reportedly requesting assistance from British intelligence officials in connection with the inquiry.
The House of Representatives initiated the impeachment inquiry against Trump last week after concerns mounted about the president’s efforts to push Ukraine to investigate the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his top rivals for the presidency in 2020.
According to CNN, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted on Tuesday that no one could put pressure on him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter.