Politics: Barr Suggests Impeachment Inquiry Undermines Voters’ Intent - - PressFrom - US
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Politics Barr Suggests Impeachment Inquiry Undermines Voters’ Intent

06:10  16 november  2019
06:10  16 november  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

U.S. House panels release two more impeachment depositions

  U.S. House panels release two more impeachment depositions U.S. House panels release two more impeachment depositions

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday vigorously defended President Trump’s use of executive authority and suggested that House Democrats were subverting the will of voters by exploring whether to remove the president from office for abusing his power.

Here’s what you need to know A new witness who overheard another Trump phone call will testify behind closed doors. Before then, catch up on some important background on the impeachment inquiry . “She was not there during the relevant time that this whole impeachment inquiry is to address

a man standing on a stage in front of a crowd: Attorney General William P. Barr suggested that the impeachment inquiry was undermining voters’ will.© T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times Attorney General William P. Barr suggested that the impeachment inquiry was undermining voters’ will.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday vigorously defended President Trump’s use of executive authority and suggested that House Democrats were subverting the will of voters by exploring whether to remove the president from office for abusing his power.

Mr. Trump campaigned on a vow to upend Washington, and voters were aware of his agenda when they elected him president, Mr. Barr said.

“While the president has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook and punctilio, he was up front about what he wanted to do and the people decided they wanted him to serve as president,” Mr. Barr said in a speech at a conference hosted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group influential in Republican politics.

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Interviews and portraits from six swing states indicate that the impeachment inquiry is revealing gulfs and divisions that are already part of the fabric of American life. “The rules are pretty clearly written. Everything he said is recorded. The intent was clear.

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Mr. Trump’s opponents “essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government,” Mr. Barr added.

His forceful defense of the president came after some of Mr. Trump’s allies have in recent weeks accused Mr. Barr of failing to vociferously back the president. Mr. Trump was said to be frustrated that Mr. Barr urged him to release a reconstructed transcript of the July call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine at the center of the impeachment case. The president also wanted Mr. Barr to hold a news conference to say the president had violated no laws, only to have Mr. Barr rebuff the request. Mr. Trump has denied that account.

Speaking for an hour at the upscale Mayflower Hotel a few blocks from the White House, Mr. Barr hit back at the president’s critics on an array of fronts as he argued that Mr. Trump, in his capacity as president, has not overstepped his authority.

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The Impeachment Inquiry ’s Main Players. Here are the lawmakers to watch as the process unfolds. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump.

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.

While Mr. Barr never uttered the word impeachment, he castigated those he sees as stalling Mr. Trump’s agenda. He defended the president’s right to set policies, steer the country’s diplomatic and military relations and keep executive branch conversations confidential from congressional oversight.

“In waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in shredding norms and undermining the rule of law,” Mr. Barr said.

He noted that opponents labeled themselves “the resistance” immediately after Mr. Trump was elected and accused them of “using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration.

“Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power,” Mr. Barr said. He added that it connotes that the government is not legitimate. “This is a very dangerous and indeed incendiary notion.”

Impeachment team releases transcript of defense official

  Impeachment team releases transcript of defense official WASHINGTON (AP) — House investigators are releasing another transcript in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The transcript being made public Monday is from the testimony of Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, in a closed-door interview. House Democrats are moving forward with the first live, public hearings of the impeachment inquiry this week. The House is investigating whether Trump violated his oath of office by pushing Ukraine's president to investigate Democrats, including rival Joe Biden, while the administration was withholding military funds for the East European ally.

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Mr. Barr spoke as the second public impeachment hearing wrapped up on Capitol Hill, where Democrats have accused Mr. Trump of abusing the power of his office for personal gain.

Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testified that she was the target of a smear campaign engineered to get Mr. Trump to remove her; she was recalled from Kiev in the spring. She said that her dismissal from the post put national security at risk by opening the door for Russia to further influence Ukraine, a strategic American ally.

She also said that she felt devastated and threatened to learn that Mr. Trump had vilified her to Mr. Zelensky, testimony that Mr. Trump underscored by attacking her on Twitter as she sat before lawmakers.

In his address, Mr. Barr suggested the president has acted within his powers and that his opponents were willing to bend the law to stop him.

Mr. Barr is known as an executive power maximalist and a believer in the unitary executive theory, which posits that the Constitution imbues the presidency with broad powers that are subject to relatively little oversight.

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The US impeachment inquiry emerges from behind closed doors at last. It is the people, the voters , for whom the politicians will be performing. The goal of this week's impeachment Republicans may also try to undermine the credibility of the anonymous whistleblower who first flagged Mr Trump's call

The Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against Trump entered a new phase Wednesday as witnesses began testifying publicly after weeks of closed-door testimony. "These four key points undercut the Democrat impeachment narrative that President Trump leveraged U.S. security

He has argued, for example, that Congress cannot make it a crime for a president to exercise executive powers corruptly; and that presidents have authority over law enforcement investigations even when investigators are scrutinizing their activity.

On Friday, Mr. Barr hit back against criticisms of his view of executive authority.

“Some of you may recall when I was up for confirmation, all these Democratic senators saying how concerned they were about my adherence to the unitary executive theory,” Mr. Barr said.

“This is not new and it’s not a theory,” Mr. Barr said, calling his viewpoint a straightforward description of the powers that the Constitution gives the president. “Whatever the executive power may be, those powers must be exercised under the president’s supervision,” he said.

Mr. Barr’s assessment was a “highly contestable — and in my view, seriously mistaken — reading of history,” said Peter M. Shane, a former Justice Department official and Ohio State University law professor who specializes in the separation of powers.

“He over-reads the vesting of executive power, ignores the limitations on executive power implicit in other clauses, and ignores evidence of what voters in favor of ratification would have expected from the text,” Mr. Shane said. “He is, indeed, a maximalist.”

Correction: November 15, 2019 This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified where Peter M. Shane works as a law professor. It is Ohio State University, not the University of Ohio.

Tillerson says Trump actions 'wrong' if proven .
Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson has criticized alleged actions that have triggered an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, saying using US influence for personal gain is "wrong." "So if you're seeking some personal gain and you're using, whether it's American foreign aid, American weapons or American influence, that's wrong, and I think everyone understands that," he said.Tillerson, a former oil executive who was unceremoniously fired by Trump in March last year, was asked about the scandal in an interview with the PBS Newshour broadcast Monday.

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