Harris requests probe into if Trump pressured Barr to open investigations

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Warren offers plan to repeal 1994 crime law authored by Biden Sanders leads Democratic field in Colorado poll MORE (D-Calif.) is requesting that the Justice Department's top watchdog investigate if President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE or White House staff pressured Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries Mueller report fades from political conversation Barr removes prisons chief after Epstein death MORE to open up any criminal investigations. 
 
Harris, one of multiple Democratic senators running for president, sent a letter on Friday to Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice's (DOJ) inspector general, asking for the watchdog office to dig into the issue, which she brought up with Barr during his appearance this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
 
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"There must be no doubt that the Department of Justice and its leadership stand apart from partisan politics, and resist improper attempts to use the power of federal law enforcement to settle personal scores," Harris wrote in her letter.
 
She added that she had "grave concern" about Barr's independence and that previous "inappropriate requests" by Trump were "well documented" in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's report.
 
"I urge the Office of Inspector General to investigate whether the Attorney General has received or acted upon requests or suggestions, whether implied or explicit, to investigate the President’s perceived enemies," Harris wrote.
 
Harris's request for an investigation comes after she signed on to a letter earlier this week, spearheaded by Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocratic senator on possibility of Trump standing up to the NRA: 'That's just such BS' Schumer to Trump: Demand McConnell hold vote on background check bill Graham moves controversial asylum bill through panel; Democrats charge he's broken the rules MORE (D-Hawaii), asking the DOJ inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility to probe Barr's handling of Mueller's report.
 
 
Harris captured national headlines when she asked Barr, during his Judiciary Committee testimony on Wednesday, if Trump or anyone at the White House had ever asked or suggested he open up an investigation into anyone. 
 
Barr, who appeared to be caught off guard, hesitated, asking Harris to repeat the question and saying that he was "trying to grapple with the word 'suggest.' "
 
“There have been discussions of, of matters out there that, uh — they have not asked me to open an investigation," he said.
 
Harris pressed him further, asking if officials had “hinted” he should investigate someone. Barr said he didn’t know.
 
Harris, in her letter to Horowitz, called Barr's remarks "an alarming response that strikes at the very heart of the rule of law and threatens to undermine" DOJ's independence.