Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday distanced himself from a growing narrative among Republicans that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, saying he hadn’t personally delved into the matter.
“I am confident the Russians attempted to interfere in the election. I don’t know about the Ukrainians, I haven’t even looked into it, frankly,” Barr told NBC News.
When asked about a debunked claim pushed by President Trump that Ukraine possessed a hacked Democratic server, Barr said he was unfamiliar with the idea.
“Fortunately I haven’t gotten into the Ukraine thing yet,” Barr said. “I don’t know. I’m not even sure about the nature of these allegations.”
Barr added that the White House did not ask him to connect with anyone from Ukraine to discuss an investigation into the Bidens.
The comments come as House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following weeks of investigating his conduct toward Ukraine.
The impeachment inquiry was sparked by revelations brought to the House from a whistleblower complaint centered around a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On the call, Trump asked Zelensky to “look into” the Bidens and “do us a favor” by looking into a baseless claim that Ukraine is connected to a hacked Democratic server from the 2016 election.
Democrats have seized on the exchange to allege Trump was pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.
The president last month claimed again during a “Fox & Friends” interview that the Democratic server was given to “a Ukrainian company.”
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and Trump’s former homeland security adviser earlier this year said the claim about Ukraine had “no validity.”
But several Republicans have raised the possibility that Ukraine meddled to assist Democrats in the 2016 election. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pushed those theories in combative interviews on “Meet the Press” in recent weeks.