Nothing to see here.
That’s what at least two top Republicans are saying amid news that Attorney General Bill Barr has been looking around the world to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Both Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have defended Barr’s moves in the past 24 hours, arguing it’s part of his job in seeking out the origins of the Russia probe.
During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday evening, Graham said the New York Times and the Washington Post reports — that President Trump and Barr have attempted to communicate with at least three different countries’ leaders to gather information about the origins of the Russia probe — is just an effort to “shut down” Barr’s investigation. Graham also announced he planned to reach out to Australia, the UK and Italy this week to encourage them to cooperate with Barr’s questioning.
Barr has reportedly personally asked intelligence officials from the United Kingdom and Italy to help with his probe into how the Trump-Russia investigation began. The communications with Italian officials included a trip to Italy last week. Barr also reportedly asked Trump to raise the issue with the Australian prime minister. A record of that call was reportedly kept in the same digital lock box where the White House kept records of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, which is now the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“I want to say on national television, Barr should be talking to Australia, he should be talking to Italy, he should be talking to the UK to find out if their intelligence services worked with out intelligence services improperly to open a counterintelligence investigation of President Trump’s campaign,” Graham said. “ If he’s not doing that, he’s not doing his job, so I’m going to write a letter to all three countries and ask them to cooperate with Barr.”
Graham defends Barr's efforts to discredit Mueller probe pic.twitter.com/LhtKQbo5xB
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 1, 2019
Cheney, one of the top Republicans in the House, tweeted on Tuesday morning echoing Graham’s remarks, calling Barr’s efforts “unequivocally appropriate” and suggested Democrats are suggesting otherwise because they’re worried he’s “getting close to answers” on the origins of the probe.
It’s unequivocally appropriate for the Attorney General to investigate foreign efforts to influence U.S. elections & to enlist the President’s assistance in this effort with foreign leaders.
Why are Dems suggesting otherwise? Are they worried Barr is getting close to answers?
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) October 1, 2019
Reports on Barr’s and Trump’s global efforts to leverage relationships with foreign leaders for his own political gain comes as Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump’s call with Ukraine intensifies this week. Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden are the center of the inquiry.