As new revelations about President Trump's July 25 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continue to dominate headlines, some are harkening back to a 2018 story that highlighted a warning to President Trump from a White House lawyer -- a warning that told Trump if he solicits law enforcement to investigate his political rivals, he could one day face impeachment.
On November 20, 2018, The New York Times published an article detailing how during the previous spring, Trump was gearing up to have the Justice Department prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey. According to the Times' report, White House counsel Don McGahn stepped in and told Trump that he lacked the authority to order such a prosecution. In fact, even ordering an inquiry into a potential prosecution could be seen as an abuse of power, McGahn reportedly warned.
"To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment," according to the New York Times' Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman.
For context on the issue of investigating rivals: we have reported that in April 2018 White House counsel Don McGah… https://t.co/7S41foFRXq— Michael S. Schmidt (@Michael S. Schmidt) 1569422964.0
"The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies," the piece continued. "It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general."
According to new revelations this Wednesday, Trump pressed Zelensky to contact Attorney General William Barr about opening an investigation into alleged misconduct perpetrated by 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” the president told Mr. Zelensky.
“The next prosecutor general will be 100 percent my person, my candidate,” Zelensky replied. “He or she will look into the situation.”
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