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 BarrBill BarrBarr-Durham investigation again fails to produce a main event Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' MORE and White House staff about investigations spinning off from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's Russia investigation.  

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), 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.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Hillicon Valley: Facebook tightens teen protections | FBI cautions against banning ransomware payments | Republicans probe White House-social media collaboration 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.