Attorney General Barr’s visit to Notre Dame to be greeted by blowing whistles


U.S. Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to speak to Notre Dame Law School students Friday as he finds himself facing questions about his role in President Donald Trump’s outreach to Ukraine and the administration’s attempt to keep a whistleblower complaint from Congress.

Barr will deliver his remarks on religious freedom at 4 p.m. in the law school’s Patrick F. McCartan Moot Courtroom, according the South Bend Tribune. The event is limited to law students and faculty as well as students associated with Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Justice said the event will be livestreamed here.

Protesters are not letting Barr’s visit go unnoticed. They are planning to blow whistles at the southern entrance to the South Bend campus in protest, the South Bend Tribune reported. Move On North Central Indiana and Indivisible Indiana District 2 are supposed to pass out whistles as a reference to the whistleblower report of the Ukrainian phone call that has led the U.S. House of Representatives to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

Barr finds himself engulfed in the political firestorm with questions about his role in Trump’s outreach to Ukraine and the attempts to keep the whistleblower complaint from Congress.

According to a transcript of a July 25 phone call, Trump repeatedly told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Barr and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, could help investigate former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Justice Department officials insist Barr was unaware of Trump’s comments at the time of the July 25 call.

When Barr did learn of that call a few weeks later, he was “surprised and angry” to discover he had been lumped in with Giuliani, a person familiar with Barr’s thinking told The Associated Press. This person was not authorized to speak about the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Barr has come under the scrutiny of congressional Democrats who have accused him of acting on Trump’s personal behalf more than for the justice system. Democrats have also called on Barr to step aside from decisions on the Ukraine matter. Those close to Barr, however, have argued there would be no reason to do so because he was unaware of the Trump-Zelenskiy conversation.

The department insists Barr wasn’t made aware of the call with Zelenskiy until at least mid-August.

Barr has not spoken with Trump about investigating Biden or Biden’s son Hunter, and Trump has not asked Barr to contact Ukrainian officials about the matter, the department said. Barr also has not spoken with Giuliani about anything related to Ukraine, officials have said.

The Tribune noted a Facebook post from the protesters states, “We cannot ignore the blatant travesties of this administration. Together, we will blow our whistles against Barr, President Trump, and their enables in Congress. Whistleblowers must be heard and protected.”

Barr’s visit will be the second appearance Friday by a DOJ official at the Notre Dame Law School. Makan Delrahim, assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, will speak to students at 8:30 a.m. about antitrust law. Previously, Delrahim served as Deputy Assistant to Trump and Deputy White House Counsel.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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