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Trump denies he wanted Barr to publicly clear him

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday denied a report that he wanted Attorney General William Barr to hold a press conference to declare he broke no laws during a July phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democrats.

Trump tweeted just after midnight that the story, first reported by The Washington Post, “is totally untrue and just another FAKE NEWS story with anonymous sources that don’t exist.”

And he continued to lash out at the press, declaring “The LameStream Media” to be the “Enemy of the People.”

The Post reported that Barr rebuffed the request, which came in September around the time the White House released a rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 call at the center of the House impeachment probe. The paper, citing unidentified people familiar with the effort, said the request was relayed from the president to White House officials, and then to the Justice Department.

House Democrats are investigating Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate political rivals as aid money was being withheld from the Eastern European country.

Trump insists he did nothing wrong.

“Just read the Transcript,” he wrote Thursday. “The Justice Department already ruled that the call was good.”

That appears to be a reference to a statement from the Justice Department in September announcing that the department’s Criminal Division “reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted.”

Barr famously held a news conference ahead of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election meddling. Barr painted what many saw as an overly flattering picture as it related to Trump and repeatedly declared investigators had found “no collision” between the Trump campaign and Russia, a point Trump had seized on to try to claim vindication.

While the appearance drew praise from Trump, it also raised alarms from critics already wary of his independence after Barr released a letter summarizing the reports’ conclusions, which Mueller later complained “did not fully capture the context, nature and substance” of the full report and led to “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of” the investigation.


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Elanco closes out first full year of independence

GREENFIELD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Elanco Animal Health Inc. (NYSE: ELAN) is reporting full-year net income of nearly $68 million in 2019, down from $86.5 million the previous year. 2019 marked the first full year for Elanco as an independent, public company. It separated from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) in 2018.

The company is also reporting a fourth-quarter net loss of $9.5 million, compared to net income of $16.4 during the same period a year ago.

Elanco President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Simmons says the company is moving with “speed and agility” like never before.

“We are advancing our pipeline, executing across a diverse portfolio and improving profitability through a robust productivity agenda,” said Simmons. “We remain confident in the underlying fundamentals in our base business.”

Simmons says the acquisition of Bayer Animal Health is developing better than expected. In August, Elanco announced it was purchasing the animal health assets from Germany-based Bayer AG in a deal valued at $7.6 billion.

“We are encouraged by the progress from a regulatory, financing and integration planning perspective, as well as, Bayer’s underlying market positioning and performance. We continue to look toward a mid-2020 close.”

If approved, it would double Elanco’s Companion Animal business and create the second-largest animal health company by revenue.

To view the complete earnings report, click here.

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