Attorney General William Barr was “surprised and angry” to learn that President Donald Trump had lumped him in with Rudy Giuliani in a phone call with the Ukrainian president as Trump was pressing the country to launch an investigation into Joe Biden.
A report from The Associated Press noted that Barr has found himself in the midst of a political firestorm that Trump created when he reportedly took actions to press Ukraine into investigating the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden. A summary of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy showed Trump asking for a “favor” in the form of an investigation into the Bidens, then instructed the Ukrainian president to work with both Barr and Giuliani to carry it out.
The report noted that Barr did not learn about the call until weeks later, and was angry to learn that Trump had included him in the matter. In his role as attorney general, Barr is not supposed to be working for Trump in a personal capacity, unlike Giuliani, who is Trump’s personal lawyer.
As The Associated Press noted, Trump seemed to see no distinction between his personal lawyer and the Department of Justice. Trump had frequently complained about previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he was not taking actions favorable to Trump, frequently referring to Sessions as his personal attorney general. The transcript of the phone call showed that Trump has taken the same view of Barr in calling for him to take part in an attempt to dig up dirt on a potential political opponent, critics say.
Barr has already been under fire for his summary of Robert Mueller’s Russia report that critics say purposely misrepresented the findings in order to protect Donald Trump. Others are now taking aim at Barr for his role in the Ukraine scandal, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who on Friday claimed that Barr had “gone rogue” in efforts to protect Donald Trump from the political fallout by taking part in a cover-up attempting to hide the whistleblower complaint.
“I think it’s sad, to have a Justice Department go so rogue,” Pelosi said, via The Hill. “Well, they have been for a while. And now it just makes matters worse.”
William Barr could now face more consequences, as Democrats have launched a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump and he is a likely target to appear before the House Intelligence Committee.