Bill Barr admits Trump attempted to strong arm Ukrainians into investigating Joe Biden

In new book, Attorney General Bill Barr recalls what he overhead in Trump's call with the Ukrainian President

By Sarah K Burris

Published March 8, 2022 1:40PM (EST)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr speak in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media (Doug MIlls-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr speak in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media (Doug MIlls-Pool/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story

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As Russia invades Ukraine, Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin is being seen in a whole new light.

In Aug. 2019, as former Attorney General Bill Barr went on his first vacation while serving under Donald Trump's presidency and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman had just filed a whistleblower report about what he overheard during Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to Barr's new book One Damn Thing After Another

Barr was "infuriated." 

"Having just broken free of Russiagate, the administration was about to get mired in another mess—this one self-inflicted and the result of abject stupidity."

For several pages In his book, Barr recalls "stewing" about it when Trump called him to rant about former FBI Director James Comey and the communications with the president he revealed after leaving the administration. 

"I thought parts of the President's conversation were unseemly and injudicious," he confessed, but ultimately claimed that Trump didn't break the law.

The Atlantic penned a detailed analysis of Barr's judicial philosophy about the presidency, explaining that in his mind, the "Founders' vision of a president" was one "with substantially unchecked powers in what happened next. He would have us believe that this vision of an all-powerful president that he wants to restore has in fact been a reality for most of our history."

In a 2019 speech to the Federalist Society, Barr claims that his vision of "total and illimitable executive power" is what led every president throughout the 1800s. As the report explained, it doesn't match the reality of mostly "weak" executives until Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"The greatest expansion of executive power came not early in our history, but in the 20th- and a 21st-century era of the imperial president," the piece explained. 

As Barr speaks to reporters like NBC's Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie this week, none have yet asked him whether he believes a president can legally be impeached at all or if any member of the executive branch can face legal accountability. 

Barr claims in his new book that he implored Trump to release the transcript of the call immediately so everyone could see how "perfect" it was. The document he released showed Trump saying that he would release the aid that he'd been holding back for months, but "I would like you to do us a favor, though." That one sentence was interpreted by legal experts as a quid-pro-quo that he wanted Zelensky to publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

Barr went on to recall that he was the most miffed about Trump lumping him in with the likes of Rudy Giuliani as one of his lawyers.

"He had created the false impression that I was involved in efforts to get the Ukrainians to open investigations," wrote Barr, inadvertently admitting that Trump was trying "to get the Ukrainians to open investigations." 

Barr's book was released Tuesday and Raw Story has extensive coverage of it here.


Sarah K Burris

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