Dems request probe of Barr communication on Mueller spinoff probes

Dems request probe of Barr communication on Mueller spinoff probes
© Stefani Reynolds

A trio of Senate Democrats are asking Justice Department watchdogs to probe potential talks between Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response Feds distributing masks, other gear seized in price-gouging investigation to NY, NJ health care workers MORE and White House staff about investigations spinning off from 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 Russia investigation.  

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Overnight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights MORE (D-R.I.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democratic senators ask IRS to extend tax filing deadline amid coronavirus outbreak MORE (D-Hawaii) sent a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Office of Professional Responsibility Director Corey Amundson on Monday asking them to investigate if Barr shared the names of spinoff cases with White House staff.  

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"It would be highly inappropriate if Mr. Barr did in fact share case names with, and by default revealed the identity of, any defendants in those cases to the White House, particularly given that those same cases have been shielded from public view in the Special Counsel’s report," the senators wrote in the letter. 

Barr told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he had not had "substantive" talks with White House staff about the 14 cases Mueller referred to the Justice Department but that "it’s possible a name of a case was mentioned." 

The three senators added in their letter that discussing case names could "interfere" with the ongoing investigations, which they argued "could implicate the conduct of individuals in the White House, including the president, his family, and his business associates."

The senators are requesting that the Justice Department officials find out if any "improper communications" have occurred between the White House and Justice Department, including in regard to the Mueller spinoff cases. 

"Specifically, we request that you investigate whether Mr. Barr revealed any names of any of the 14 cases referred by Special Counsel Mueller, or the defendants in those cases, to the White House, as his testimony before our Committee indicated," they wrote. 

If they find that Barr discussed names of cases with White House staff, the senators want to know whom he discussed them with and if he discussed any other details of the cases with White House officials, including Trump.