According to a report from the Daily Beast, Attorney General Bill Barr is being put in a hard place by having to take sides over whether he will throw the support of the Justice Department behind a letter from the White House counsel dismissing the House’s impeachment inquiry or follow the letter of the law that allows the Democrats to proceed.
“This may be the week that Barr’s balancing act—of simultaneously purporting to enforce the law while defending a president who has contempt for the rule of law—finally collapses. This is because, with a letter ‘objecting’ to the very possibility of his impeachment by Congress, Trump has announced his intention to defy the Constitution itself,” the Beast’s Lurie wrote before adding, ” The declaration leaves Barr with a stark choice: Will he employ the Department of Justice to defend a president’s open and notorious violation of the Constitution? ”
Noting that Barr has been an avid defender of President Donald Trump’s actions so far — even when they fly in the face of established law — the author said the letter from White House counsel Pat Cipollone is indefensible.
“White House Counsel Pat Cipollone issued his letter on behalf of the president declaring the very existence of the House’s impeachment inquiry to be ‘constitutionally invalid,’ and announcing that Trump is categorically refusing cooperate with it—and presumably refusing to comply with the House’s subpoenas in any way,” he wrote.
“The president’s position is not only unsupported by law, but absurd. Article I of the Constitution expressly provides that the president may be impeached by the House and removed by the Senate; and the Constitution does not permit a president to avoid the Congress’s exercise of that impeachment power by unilaterally declaring it to be ‘illegitimate,’ he explained, adding that Barr now faces a tough choice.
“Trump has made it very plain that Barr is the attorney general because he, unlike Jeff Sessions, has so far proved himself willing to serve as Trump’s ‘new Roy Cohn,’ the McCarthy counsel and then ultimately disbarred fixer for Trump and others who was famously disinterested in what the law required, and likely escaped jail only because of his untimely death,” he wrote. ” The question now will be whether Barr—who entered his current office with a reputation, however undeserved, as a consummate public servant and government lawyer—will be willing to follow in the footsteps of so many other members of the Trump administration who have permanently soiled their reputations, and in some cases placed themselves in peril of criminal liability, in the service of the overreaching demands of the boss.”
“If Barr does choose to tether the DOJ to the president’s contention that he can freely defy the law, however, the attorney general will not only risk whatever is left of own reputation, but also the legitimacy of the department he leads,” he concluded.
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