Senate Dems: Barr must recuse himself from Ukraine, Russia probe investigation

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are calling on Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDemocrat asks Barr to preserve any records tied to environmental hacking probe Justice Dept. considering replacing outgoing US attorney in Brooklyn with Barr deputy: report Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE to step back from Ukraine-related matters and an investigation into the origins of the probe on Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign. 
 
The panel's 10 Democrats sent Barr a letter saying there was an "appearance of a conflict of interest" and that he should recuse himself from any Ukraine matters, including investigations involving Trump's personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiOusted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week Sunday shows preview: With coronavirus cases surging, lawmakers and health officials weigh in Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down MORE; Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates who were indicted earlier this month; and the department's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. 
 
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"Impartial enforcement of the law is essential to give the American public confidence in the Justice Department's work. Your personal connection to these matters creates the appearance of a conflict of interest and gives rise to questions about whether the Department is being used to advance the president's personal interests," the senators wrote. 
 
"We request that you recuse yourself and identify the appropriate official who will be responsible for these matters. We also request that you confirm whether you consulted Department ethics officials regarding recusal and provide copies of any ethics guidance that Justice Department officials have provided in connection with these matters," they added. 
 
The senators note in the letter, which was released on Friday, that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE mentioned Barr during the call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump requested an investigation into the Biden family, and that Barr also met with Italian officials as part of the Justice Department's investigation into its previous probe of Russian election meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign. 
 
"The White House's memorandum of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky suggests that you may have personal knowledge or involvement in President Trump's request that Ukraine pursue investigations to serve the president's personal political interests," the Democrats wrote. 
 
They added that Trump name-dropping Barr during the call "raises legitimate questions about your knowledge of the activities of Mr. Giuliani and others, as well as the actions that you have taken and your discussions with the president and the White House about these investigations."
 
The New York Times reported earlier this month that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are reportedly investigating whether Giuliani's dealing with Ukraine broke lobbying laws. Meanwhile, Parnas and Fruman were arrested earlier this month on campaign finance violation charges. 
 
The letter also comes as The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the origins of its own 2016 Russia probe. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler wins Democratic primary Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks MORE (D-N.Y.) previously called on Barr to recuse himself last month from overseeing any Justice Department involvement in the scandal over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

“The President dragged the Attorney General into this mess. At a minimum, AG Barr must recuse himself until we get to the bottom of this matter,” Nadler tweeted at the time.