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story.lead_photo.caption Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) and Attorney General William Barr attend an event Wednesday at the White House on judicial appointments. More photos at arkansasonline.com/118barr/

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Thursday denied a report that he had requested that Attorney General William Barr hold a news conference to declare that Trump broke no laws during a July phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate some Democrats.

Trump tweeted just after midnight that the story, first reported by The Washington Post, "is totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story with anonymous sources that don't exist."

He continued to lash out at the media, declaring "The LameStream Media" to be the "Enemy of the People."

The Post reported that Barr rebuffed the request, which came in September around the time the White House released a memo detailing Trump's July 25 call at the center of the House impeachment probe. The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the effort, said the request was relayed from the president to White House officials, and then to the Justice Department.

Gallery: Attorney General William Barr waits for President Donald Trump to speak in the East Room of the White House

[GALLERY: William Barr waits for President Trump to speak at the White House » arkansasonline.com/118barr/]

House Democrats are investigating Trump's pressure on Ukraine to investigate political rivals as aid money was being withheld from the Eastern European country.

Trump insists that he did nothing wrong.

"Just read the Transcript," he wrote Thursday. "The Justice Department already ruled that the call was good."

That appears to be a reference to a statement from the Justice Department in September announcing that the 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."

Barr held a news conference ahead of the release of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian election meddling. Barr painted what many saw as an overly flattering picture as it related to Trump and repeatedly declared that investigators had found "no collision" between the Trump campaign and Russia, a point Trump had seized on to claim vindication.

While the appearance drew praise from Trump, it raised alarms from critics already wary of his independence after Barr released a letter summarizing the reports' conclusions, which Mueller later complained "did not fully capture the context, nature and substance" of the entire report and led to "public confusion about critical aspects of the results of" the investigation.

A Section on 11/08/2019

Print Headline: Trump denies asking AG to say call broke no laws

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