Attorney General William Barr dined at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., at the same time President Trump was in the building.
A reporter for ABC caught a glimpse of Barr at the BLT Prime restaurant Thursday evening and shared a photo on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Trump was in the building meeting with donors.
The spotting of Trump and Barr comes at a time when Democrats in Congress are fighting the Justice Department for full access to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has accused the Trump administration of a “cover-up” that extends to Democrat-led investigations into Trump, his inner circle, and his finances, while House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has called the attorney general Trump’s “personal attorney.”
Barr is also looking into the origins of the federal Russia investigation and has tasked U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut leading in inquiry into the whether there was misconduct by officials at the Justice Department and FBI.
There is no indication that the two actually met at the hotel, but Vox’s Aaron Rupar compared the situation to the 2016 Phoenix tarmac meeting between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, at a time when his wife Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation for her emails and was a candidate for president, which raised concerns of impropriety.
As recently as this year, Trump said the tarmac meeting should be investigated. Lynch has received renewed scrutiny this month upon the release of a transcript of closed-door testimony Lynch gave to Congress in which she denied ever instructing former FBI Director James Comey to minimize the Clinton email investigation by urging him to call it a “matter” instead of an “investigation.” Comey had testified under oath that she had instructed him to do so.
Over the years, critics have raised concerns about government officials, lawmakers, and foreign dignitaries going to Trump’s luxury hotel in downtown Washington.
An emoluments lawsuit alleges Trump profits off the hotel, violating the anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution. In March, a federal appeals court appeared dismissive of the notion that the president was illegally profiting off foreign and state government visitors. A judge ruled in April that a separate emoluments case brought by Democrats in Congress could move forward.