Julián Castro calls on DOJ to investigate Barr after Ukraine call memo

Julián Castro calls on DOJ to investigate Barr after Ukraine call memo
© Greg Nash

White House hopeful Julián Castro called on the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump: Yates either lying or grossly incompetent Trump administration awarding M in housing grants to human trafficking survivors Trump stokes conspiracy about Epstein death, stands by wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell MORE in light of a burgeoning scandal surrounding President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE’s dealings with Ukraine. 

“The Attorney General has zero credibility, demonstrated by his handling of the Mueller Report,” Castro, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, tweeted Wednesday. “William Barr must recuse himself from any investigation involving Ukraine—and the DOJ’s Inspector General must investigate his conduct.”

The statement came in the aftermath of a five-page memorandum of a July call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump said he would direct Barr to speak with Zelensky about opening a probe into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Biden clarifies comments comparing African American and Latino communities Kanye West may have missed deadline to get on Wisconsin ballot by minutes: report MORE and his son.

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“There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said on the July 25 call. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it... It sounds horrible to me.”

“I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I'm sure you will figure it out,” Trump added, referring to Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group Commission on Presidential Debates rejects Trump campaign call for earlier debate The Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  MORE, his personal lawyer.

Trump’s gripes with Biden center around his claims that Biden abused his power when he lobbied Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a natural gas company on whose board his son sat. No evidence has emerged that Biden was working with his son’s interests in mind.

The Justice Department was further thrust into the spotlight Wednesday when it announced it had declined to pursue an investigation into whether the call violated campaign finance law, determining that “no further action was warranted” after it received a whistleblower complaint expressing alarm over the conversation.

Democrats have panned Trump for requesting Ukraine investigate a political rival, with some suggesting he threatened to leverage military aid to Kiev contingent on Zelensky’s compliance and have called on Barr to testify in front of Congress over the scandal.

“I asked Attorney General Barr in May: did the White House ever ask him to investigate anyone? He wouldn't answer Barr needs to come back to Congress and answer that question again. Under oath. This time, he better have an answer,” Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Harris, Ocasio-Cortez push climate equity bill with Green New Deal roots Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Calif.), another White House contender, warned.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCoronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Top Democrats say postmaster confirmed changes to mail service amid delays MORE (D-Calif.) Tuesday announced that House Democrats would open a formal impeachment investigation into Trump over his conversation with Zelensky.