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 BarrBill BarrAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Milley moved to limit Trump military strike abilities after Jan. 6, Woodward book claims: report Former US attorney enters race for governor in Pennsylvania MORE on Friday seeking documents regarding President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race 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 HarrisStefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' Live coverage: California voters to decide Newsom's fate Florida woman faces five years in prison for threatening to kill Harris MORE (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats draw red lines in spending fight What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling Climate hawks pressure Biden to replace Fed chair 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 BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate 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.