WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said that Attorney General William P. Barr had “gone rogue,” and questioned whether he could objectively make decisions about legal action in response to an explosive whistle-blower complaint accusing President Trump of misconduct, because Mr. Barr himself was mentioned in the document.
“I do think the attorney general has gone rogue,” Ms. Pelosi said on CNN. “He has for a long time now. And since he was mentioned, in all of this, it’s curious that he would be making decisions about how the complaint would be handled.”
Earlier Friday on MSNBC, Ms. Pelosi accused the White House trying to cover up a cover-up of the July 25 phone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Zelensky to investigate a political opponent. The White House released a reconstructed transcript of the call this week, and on Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee released an unclassified version of the whistle-blower’s complaint.
Ms. Pelosi announced the start of an impeachment inquiry before the release of the reconstructed transcript and complaint.
The complaint did not describe any actions taken by Mr. Barr in efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate matters that could benefit Mr. Trump politically. But it referenced Mr. Trump’s suggestion to Mr. Zelensky that he follow up with Mr. Barr about the investigations he was seeking. That raised concerns about whether he could oversee any subsequent inquiries into the allegations. And it underscored why most presidents aim to appoint an independent attorney general so there will not be questions about any conflict of interest.