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‘Impeach Barr, too’: Critics demand Attorney General’s ouster for refusing to investigate Trump-Ukraine call

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“Terrible implications for our democracy if DOJ is saying that the solicitation of opposition research by a candidate from foreign governments is totally legal and totally cool.”

White House critics said Wednesday that Attorney General William Barr should be impeached following news that the Justice Department declined to investigate President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

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In late August, according to the Washington Post, intelligence officials referred Trump’s call with Zelensky to the Justice Department as a possible campaign finance violation.

“Terrible implications for our democracy if DOJ is saying that the solicitation of opposition research by a candidate from foreign governments is totally legal and totally cool.”
—Rick Hasan, University of California, Irvine

A White House memo (pdf) on the call released Wednesday confirmed reports that Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and offered Barr’s services.

“I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it,” Trump told Zelensky. “I’m sure you will figure it out.”

The Justice Department ultimately decided not to investigate the conversation. In a statement Wednesday, DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the department “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.”

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Buzzfeed, citing an anonymous senior Justice Department official, reported that the DOJ’s Criminal Division determined “the information discussed on the call didn’t amount to a ‘thing of value’ that could be quantified, which is what the campaign finance laws required.”

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Kupec said Trump “has not asked the Attorney General to contact Ukraine—on this or any other matter.”

The Justice Department reportedly advised Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to not release to Congress a whistleblower complaint involving Trump’s Ukraine call.

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Rick Hasan, professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, called the Justice Department’s conclusion “totally wrong.”

“Even [former Special Counsel Robert] Mueller concluded opposition research is a thing of value for campaign finance purposes,” Hasan tweeted. “Terrible implications for our democracy if DOJ is saying that the solicitation of opposition research by a candidate from foreign governments is totally legal and totally cool.”

Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said the Justice Department’s refusal to investigate the call “raises new questions.”

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Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said the memo on the U.S. president’s call “is damning for Donald Trump and for those involved, including AG Barr.” Lieu echoed House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-N.J.) demand that Barr recuse himself from all matters related to the Ukraine conversation.

The memo, tweeted Lieu, “confirms that Donald Trump requested a foreign power to investigate his political opponent, and it shows he wanted the Justice Department to also investigate his opponent, all to benefit his campaign.”

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“This is soooo illegal,” Lieu said.


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Former UK consulate worker says Chinese secret police tortured him

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A former employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong said Wednesday that Chinese secret police tortured and interrogated him about London's role in protests in the semi-autonomous city.

Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen, claimed he was shackled to a steel "tiger chair", hung spread-eagled on a "steep X-Cross" and beaten while he was detained for 15 days in August.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Cheng's allegations are credible and that the treatment "amounts to torture".

Raab told BBC radio that he summoned the Chinese ambassador to denounce the "disgraceful" and "outrageous behaviour from the authorities in China" which violate international law.

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Sondland briefed Pompeo on Trump’s Ukraine scheme — and secretary of state signed off on it: report

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President Donald Trump's ambassador to the European Union kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the loop on efforts to pressure Ukraine's president to announce an investigation of Joe Biden.

Gordon Sondland notified Pompeo in mid-August of a draft statement he'd produced with another U.S. diplomat and Ukrainian officials that they hoped would persuade Trump to invite Volodymyr Zelensky to the Oval Office, reported the New York Times.

He and Pompeo discussed later that month the possibility of pushing Zelensky to pledge during a planned meeting with Trump in Warsaw that he would pursue the investigation sought by the U.S. president in hopes of smoothing relations between the two countries, according to two sources who were briefed on the matter.

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MSNBC’s Mika shocked by Morning Joe’s withering criticism of House GOP: ‘I’ve never heard you accuse someone of that’

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MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski was astonished by her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough's denunciation of congressional Republicans.

The "Morning Joe" hosts agreed GOP attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who earned a Purple Heart fighting in the Iraq War, and other impeachment inquiry witnesses were shameful, but Scarborough went even further in his criticism.

"People talk about the time, 'It's a time we're in,' -- no, it's not," Scarborough said. "It's lack of character among people on these committees, just a lack of character and a lack of love of country that they put their political party above their country."

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