House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Attorney General William Barr had gone “rogue” because of the way he and the Justice Department handled the whistleblower complaint centered on President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president in which he repeatedly urged him to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
(MORE: Trump urged Ukraine to work with Barr and Giuliani to probe Biden: Call transcript )
Trump suggested that Barr could aid in the investigation.
After first making the comment on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,” Pelosi repeated it to CNN.
“I do think the attorney general has gone rogue, he has for along time now. Since he was mentioned in all of this, it’s curious about how he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled,” she told CNN.
“If by “going rogue” Speaker Pelosi means that the Department of Justice follows the law and [long]-established procedures, she is correct,” DOJ Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in a statement Friday evening.
The Justice Department has denied that Barr and Trump ever spoke about the Ukraine matter, but Democrats expressed fury over Trump’s comments, which suggested the president was prepared to try to task the country’s lead law enforcement official with pushing forward an investigation into his political opponent.
“What adds another layer of depravity to this conversation is that the President of the United States then invokes the Attorney General of the United States as well as his personal lawyer as emissaries,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Wednesday. “In the case of the attorney general, as the official head of the U.S. Department — the Department of Justice, that will be part and parcel in this.”
(MORE: Trump’s DOJ clears president of violating campaign finance law in Ukraine-Biden call )
The Justice Department revealed Wednesday that the whistleblower complaint sparked a referral to the DOJ’s criminal division about whether Trump potentially violated campaign finance law. However, the criminal division, after reviewing the matter, determined there was no campaign finance violation and “has concluded the matter,” Kupec said Wednesday.
A DOJ official said the assistant attorney general for the criminal division made the “final call” to clear the president, and said Barr was “not involved in the analysis by the criminal division.” There was no consideration for Barr to formally recuse himself from the matter, the official said, and no consideration of the appointment of a special counsel.
However, the criminal division, after reviewing the matter, determined there was no campaign finance violation and “has concluded the matter,” a DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said Wednesday
This isn’t the first time, Barr and Pelosi have been on each other’s radar.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walks behind President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr as they all attend the 38th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill, May 15, 2019.
The attorney general of the United States did not tell the truth to the Congress. That’s a crime,” Pelosi said in May, about Barr;s testimony on the Mueller report..
The House voted to hold Barr in contempt and some Democrats suggested he even be locked up in a jail cell underneath the Capitol used decades ago, although it’s not clear it still exists.
(MORE: Nancy Pelosi slams AG William Barr on testimony: ‘He lied to Congress. That’s a crime’ )
“He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” Pelosi said at the time. “Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States and not the attorney general. Being attorney general does not give you a pass to go say whatever you want and it is the fact because you are the attorney general. It just isn’t true.”
(MORE: ‘Did you bring your handcuffs?’ Attorney General Barr asks Speaker Pelosi)
Not long after, at the 38th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill, Barr, approached Pelosi, shook her hand, and said loudly, “Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” according to a source who witnessed the conversation.
Pelosi smiled and quickly threw some shade back at Barr, indicating that “the House Sergeant at Arms was present at the ceremony should an arrest be necessary,” according to a source who observed the exchange.
(MORE: How the tide turned on a day that led to an impeachment inquiry)
Barr chuckled and walked away, according to the bystander.