Harris demands Barr testify after memo ties him to Trump's call with Ukraine leader

Harris demands Barr testify after memo ties him to Trump's call with Ukraine leader
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPaul clashes with Booker, Harris over anti-lynching bill Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill Minority caucuses call for quick action on police reform MORE (D-Calif.) is demanding that Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November Black Lives Matter, protesters sue Trump admin over aggressive crowd clearing MORE appear before Congress and give her a definitive answer on whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE's administration ever requested he investigate anyone. 

The 2020 presidential candidate made the call just hours after the White House released a memo of a July phone call in which Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Barr and Trump attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiPiers Morgan, Rudy Giuliani in furious debate over Trump: 'You sound completely barking mad' Rudy Giuliani calls on Cuomo to remove Bill de Blasio Sunday shows preview: States begin to reopen even as some areas in US see case counts increase MORE to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Davis: 72 hours cementing the real choice for November OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs order removing environmental reviews for major projects | New Trump air rule will limit future pollution regulations, critics say | DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden plan MORE and his son Hunter Biden over allegations of corruption.

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Harris, an outspoken critic of Trump and Barr, raised alarm over the developments, pointing to footage from May of the attorney general's congressional testimony regarding former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's report. 

"I asked Attorney General Barr in May: did the White House ever ask him to investigate anyone? He wouldn't answer," she said on Twitter. "Barr needs to come back to Congress and answer that question again. Under oath."

During a Senate Judiciary Committee in May, Harris appeared to catch Barr off guard when she asked him whether the White House had ever asked or suggested he open up an investigation into anyone. 

Barr hesitated, before asking the senator to repeat the question. He later said he was being cautious because 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.
 
Just days later, Harris wrote to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) inspector general calling for a probe into whether Barr had been pressured by Trump or White House aides to open criminal investigations. The senator called Barr's reply to her question an "alarming response" that threatened to undermine the agency's independence. 
 
Reports first surfaced last week that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden and his son. A memo from the White House released earlier Wednesday showed Trump on multiple occasions talking with Zelensky about working with Barr to look into the Bidens. 
 
The phone call occurred around the same time that the White House delayed millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, raising speculation from Democrats as to whether the president used the aid as leverage. 
 
The Justice Department said in a statement following the memo's release that it declined to pursue an investigation into the matter because Trump's comments did not amount to a campaign finance violation. 
 
Trump has acknowledged speaking with Zelensky about Biden, but has denied addressing military aid in their talks. 
 
The July phone call is said to be at least part of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint.