Democratic senators seek documents on Trump's alleged call for Barr press conference

Three Democratic senators sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham Barr DOJ says surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Page lacked evidence Senators press DHS over visa approval for Pensacola naval base shooter Democrats sharpen case on second day of arguments MORE on Friday seeking documents regarding President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE’s alleged request that Barr hold a press conference saying no laws were broken during a July phone call with Ukraine.

Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power MORE (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency from chopping block Citizens United decision weathers 10 years of controversy Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change MORE (D-R.I.) said Trump’s request raises “serious concerns about the president’s perception of the Justice Department as a partisan political instrument and his willingness to use the power of federal law enforcement in pursuit of his own objectives.” 

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“We submit this FOIA request in order to obtain communications, documents, and other information related to the president’s reported request that you hold a news conference to clear him of wrongdoing during his call with the Ukrainian president,” they added.

The senators asked that Barr respond to their request within five business days.

The request comes in response to a Washington Post report released this week that said Trump asked Barr to hold a press conference affirming that he had broken no laws during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump repeatedly pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Sanders faces lingering questions about appeal to women voters George Conway: Witness missing from impeachment trial is Trump MORE, a chief political rival, on unfounded corruption allegations.

Barr declined, though the Department of Justice (DOJ) did ultimately release a statement claiming that a readout of the president's call had been evaluated to not contain any campaign finance violations.

While sources told the Post that Trump has mentioned Barr's refusal to host a press conference on the issue in recent weeks, White House officials pushed back on the idea that the two were at odds over the issue.

"The President has nothing but respect for AG Barr and greatly appreciates the work he’s done on behalf of the country - and no amount of shady sources with clear intent to divide, smear, and slander will change that," White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said Thursday.

"The DOJ did in fact release a statement about the call, and the claim that it resulted in tension because it wasn’t a news conference is completely false," he added. 

The July conversation with Zelensky is at the heart of the House’s impeachment investigation, with Democrats worrying that Trump tied $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to Kiev’s compliance with his request to investigate Biden.