Donald Trump wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a news conference declaring that the president broke no laws during his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The Washington Post reports. The request reportedly occurred around Sept. 25, when the White House released a rough transcript of what was said on the call. The request was reportedly passed along from Trump to White House aides, who eventually notified the Justice Department. Barr ultimately declined to hold the news conference, and Trump has reportedly mentioned how he wished Barr had done it in recent weeks. Barr and Trump are said to still be on good terms, despite the attorney general declining Trump’s request.
Instead of a news conference, the DOJ released a statement stating that “no further action was warranted” after it had evaluated the rough transcript and the whistleblower complaint about the call—which raised concerns about Trump’s mentioning of former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential political opponent in 2020, to Zelensky. A White House spokesperson said “no amount of shady sources with clear intent to divide, smear, and slander” would change Trump’s “respect” for Barr. This comes after a key witness in the impeachment inquiry into Trump testified that administration officials had urged Ukraine hold a press conference of their own to publicly announce corruption investigations into Biden and his son in exchange for U.S. military aid.