Washington, US Attorney General William Barr must recuse himself from the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said on Wednesday.
Earlier, the White House released the transcript of a July phone conversation between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to "look into" Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged interference in a corruption probe of a Ukrainian gas company tied to his son Hunter Biden.
"The President dragged the Attorney General into this mess," Nadler said in a Twitter post. "At a minimum, AG Barr must recuse himself until we get to the bottom of this matter."
Barr entered the picture because Trump told Zelenskyy he would have the US attorney general contact Ukrainian officials, who Zelenskyy said would be investigating Biden.
Reports of a president using his position to dig up dirt on Biden, a political rival who is challenging Trump’s bid for a second term, prompted House Democrats to begin a process of impeaching Trump on Tuesday.
Biden in 2016 publicly said that he threatened to withdraw support for a $1 billion US loan agreement if Kiev did not fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who previously led the probe of the company tied to Hunter Biden. However, the IMF and other countries in Europe had also been calling for Shokin’s removal, claiming he was himself corrupt.
Biden’s role in the eventual dismissal of Shokin had been largely overlooked by US media which at the end of 2016 and early 2016 was preoccupied with the upcoming inauguration of Trump.
That means the formal House impeachment probe launched on Tuesday has potential to shed as much light on Biden’s alleged involvement in Ukrainian politics as on Trump’s attempts to target Biden as a political rival.