As Donald Trump grapples with formal impeachment proceedings and faces criticism for pressuring Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, others in his circle continue to come under similar scrutiny. The Toronto Star reports that Attorney General William Barr, who was reportedly angry that Trump mentioned him in the controversial call, used private meetings to ask foreign officials for help with the investigation, one which the president hopes will discredit the FBI and CIA’s activities related to Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
According to current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials, Barr’s continued involvement in the re-examination of the 2016 investigation is frustrating. David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who was involved in Mueller’s investigation during its early stages, says Barr’s lead on the investigation negates any belief that such an investigation would be unbiased. This is reportedly thanks to its assignment to John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut who is responsible for reviewing U.S. intelligence connected to the 2016 election.
“… if the attorney general is essentially running this investigation, that entire premise is out the window,” he said.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, claims that Durham is heading the investigation and gathering information from “numerous sources,” including foreign countries.
“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,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement, per The Hill.
BREAKING: Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey sent AG Bill Barr the following letter in May:
“The Australian Government will use its best endeavors to support your efforts in this matter … we stand ready to provide you with all the relevant information to support your inquiries” pic.twitter.com/73EUc2R1uB
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 30, 2019
The news of Barr’s private meetings comes just as it was reported that Trump pressured Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work with Barr to obtain information that would paint Mueller’s report as unreliable. The president reportedly asked Morrison to help Mueller’s investigation appear partisan and corrupt.
“President Trump initiated the discussion in recent weeks with Mr. Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia’s help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation,” The New York Times reported.
In the midst of the new revelations, Trump and his camp continue to focus on Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine. The accusations that Biden pressured Ukraine law enforcement to help his son avoid legal trouble have yet to be substantiated, and the former vice president’s campaign has taken to urge major TV networks to stop booking Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani — who continues to spread the theory.
As part of the impeachment proceedings against Trump, House Democrats issued a subpoena to Giuliani to turn over information related to the president’s call with Zelensky, which remains at the center of the Ukraine scandal.