Attorney General William Barr declined to hold a press conference to clear President Donald Trump of wrongdoing in his phone call with the president of Ukraine, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
People familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump wanted Barr to publicly state he had broken no laws when he pressured Ukraine’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son during the July 25 phone call.
According to the Post, Trump put in a request for the press conference around Sept. 25. Around the same time, the White House released a summary of the call’s transcript that shows the president asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a favor.
During the call, Trump urged Zelensky to further discuss an investigation into the Bidens with Barr.
The Justice Department ultimately decided not to investigate Trump over his phone call with Zelensky, announcing in a Sept. 25 statement that it did not find any campaign finance violations and had “concluded the matter.”
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division “reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted,” a spokesperson said at the time.
HuffPost has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.
Trump denied the report in several tweets Thursday morning, calling The Washington Post “fake” and “degenerate.”
The president also said that Barr is denying the paper’s reporting, too.
In response, the Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, said the paper “fully stands behind” its reporting and reporters “who are among the finest journalists anywhere” and accused Trump of making “false accusations” as part of his ongoing attacks on the free press.
“Despite his repugnant attempt to intimidate and harass The Post and its staff, we will continue to do the work that democracy demands of a free and independent press,” he said.
This article has been updated with another Trump tweet and response from Marty Baron.