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Here’s why Trump’s abuse of ‘executive privilege’ could lead to impeachment proceedings

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently asserted that she had no interest in impeaching President Donald Trump. Instead, Pelosi has encouraged congressional investigations and hearings. But Trump is angrily resisting Democratic subpoenas from the U.S. House of Representatives, vowing that he will fight every last one of them—and according to CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, the “ultimate irony” is that Trump will “keep making it harder for Democrats to avoid impeachment proceedings.

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Trump, vowing to fight all subpoenas from Congress, has been claiming executive privilege. Zelizer, who is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University in addition to his work for CNN, discusses the history of executive privilege claims by U.S. presidents in an April 25 article for  CNN’s website.

The executive privilege concept for U.S. presidents, Zelizer explains, can be justified by “the interests of national security or the need to allow staffers to have conversations free of the fear they will be on the front pages….  Presidents since George Washington have invoked the right to keep documents and advisers away from Congress under certain circumstances.” Zelizer notes that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, for example, invoked executive privilege in the 1950s “when he refused to share information or advisers with the Army-McCarthy hearings.”

The CNN analyst goes on to write that in July 1974, the month before President Richard Nixon’s resignation because of the Watergate scandal, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld executive privilege as “a legitimate principle” but ruled that “in Nixon’s case, it could not be used” because “the right of the public to know the truth in an investigation outweighed the president’s right to block” recordings of White House conversations.

Zelizer adds that while “many presidents,” including Bill Clinton in the 1990s and Barack Obama in the 2010s, have made executive privilege assertions, Trump is “making a much bolder claim” by vowing to “defy all subpoenas because he does not believe the investigations are legitimate.”

Pelosi, as Zelizer points out, is furious over Trump’s abuse of executive privilege, saying, “President Trump and his administration are engaged in unprecedented stonewalling and once again using the legal system to conceal every area of his life as well as his wrongdoing and improprieties from the American people.”

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Zelizer concludes his CNN article by saying that if Trump continues to abuse executive privilege and resist congressional oversight, more Democrats might decide that impeachment proceedings are unavoidable. Trump, Zelizer writes, “keeps forcing the nation’s hand in considering how far it is willing to let a president go before finally saying that enough is enough.”


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Trump aides and GOP lawmakers ‘freaking out’ after being ‘blindsided’ by Gordon Sondland’s testimony

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Allies of President Donald Trump are "freaking out" after the damning testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, CNN's Jim Acosta reported Wednesday.

The administration had been caught flat-footed by Sondland's testimony.

"White House lawyers pressed in recent days to learn from Sondland’s legal team what the ambassador would tell Congress about the president and claims of a “quid pro quo” in his much-anticipated testimony today," The Washington Post reported Wednesday. "Sondland’s lawyers declined however to provide the White House with an early peek into the account that this key impeachment witness would give lawmakers about his interactions with the president."

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‘Fox News knew’: Vindman lawyers rip Laura Ingraham for hosting ‘false and defamatory’ segment

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An attorney representing Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is demanding Fox News retract a segment that aired on the "Ingraham Angle" that suggested Vindman may have committed treason.

"This firm represents Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman," read the letter from David Pressman of Boies, Schiller Flexner, LLP.

"We are compelled to write because of a deeply flawed and erroneous Fox News segment that first aired on October 28, 2019, the gist of which has since been republished countless times, including by the president of the United States to his 66.9 million Twitter followers. Laura Ingraham reported the Segment during her show, 'The Ingraham Angle' along with John Yoo, who was a panelist invited by Fox News to participate in its coverage of LTC Vindman," the letter read.

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Impeachment hearing explodes with applause as Jackie Speier highlights Trump’s daily lies

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Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway on Thursday argued that it was not illegal for Republicans to "out" the White House whistleblower.

Conway cited a Washington Post "fact-check" that gave "Three Pinocchios" to the claim that the whistleblower has a statutory right to anonymity.

Following his time, Ambassador Gordon Sondland was questioned by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA).

During Speier's questioning, she was interrupted by Conaway, who brought up The Post giving "Three Pinocchios."

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