California Senator Kamala Harris made headlines last week as she aggressively grilled Attorney General William Barr about his handling of the delivery of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Harris is now requesting that Barr be investigated based on what she describes as troubling answers to some of those questions, Rolling Stone reports.
Central to that request for investigation were questions she asked Barr about whether or not President Donald Trump, or members of his administration, had requested that the attorney general open an investigation into any particular individual. Barr ultimately avoided a clear answer to the queries, begging the question if Trump had indeed applied pressure to the Justice Department in such a manner.
“Such inappropriate requests by the President have been well documented. Special Counsel Mueller … documented a disturbing pattern of behavior on the part of the President — repeated attempts to target his perceived opponents,” Harris wrote in a letter to the Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz.
In that letter, she formally requested an investigation into what may have taken place between Barr and the Trump administration.
“There must be no doubt that the Department of Justice and its leadership stand apart from partisan politics, and resist improper attempts to use the power of federal law enforcement to settle personal scores,” the letter also said.
Kamala Harris seeks investigation into Attorney General Barr, "He should not act as the president’s henchman" https://t.co/CV8p4wIGem
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) May 4, 2019
Harris also appeared on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, again speaking to the possibility of improprieties related to Barr.
Maddow, in the interview, asked if it was possible that Barr had been given direction from the White House to initiate one or more investigations into opponents of the president.
Harris characterized her feelings as “suspicious” given the evasive nature of Barr’s testimony and took the opportunity to make the case for the investigation she had requested.
“The Attorney General is supposed to act on behalf of the people and not act as the president’s henchman,” she said later in the appearance.
Harris went on to make the case that at stake in these proceedings is the integrity of the American justice system itself. She points out that as the top law enforcement official in the United States and the leader of the Department of Justice, Barr’s integrity is of the utmost importance.
Harris, who is currently competing for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election, has been one of the more aggressive Democratic candidates when it comes to holding Barr and Trump accountable following the release of the Mueller report.