- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday he doesn’t recall being asked by the White House to hold a press conference to do a very public exoneration of allegations he broke the law with his request that Ukraine investigate a political opponent.

Mr. Barr said he did offer to issue a press statement — which the department released, saying it had investigated and concluded the president didn’t commit a crime because there was nothing of concrete value to be won from the request for Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and his son.

The Washington Post reported last week that Mr. Trump made the request for a public exoneration. Other media outlets said they confirmed the same reporting.

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But Mr. Trump has denied it, and so did Mr. Barr, during a press conference in Tennessee on efforts to combat gun violence.

“I don’t remember any such request,” Mr. Barr said. “In fact, my recollection is I told the White House we would do what we normally do, and that is issue a press statement, which we did.”

That statement, issued well before House Democrats began their impeachment inquiry to look into Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, concluded that asking Ukraine to investigate didn’t amount to a thing of value, and therefor could not be seen as a prosecutable offense under campaign laws.

Advocates for stricter campaign finance rules called the department’s conclusion wrong, and Democrats on Capitol Hill argue the president’s attempt to solicit foreign help — under what they say was threat of losing access to U.S. military assistance — is an impeachable crime.

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