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Legal experts warn Trump’s refusal to cooperate with impeachment inquiry may subject federal workers to criminal exposure

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The Trump Administration’s refusal to cooperate with an impeachment inquiry by the U.S. House of Representatives was evident on Tuesday when White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent an angry letter to House Democrats declaring, “President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process.” Legal experts have been discussing the type of legal exposure that the Trump Administration is subjecting federal employees to, and writer Eric Katz discusses that exposure in an October 8 article for the Government Executive website.

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On Tuesday, Katz notes, the Trump State Department refused to make Gordon Sondland (U.S. ambassador to the European Union) available for a scheduled deposition pertaining to Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian government. And House Democrats have responded to the Trump Administration by saying that they will subpoena Sondland.

“If the (Trump) Administration continues to block (Sondland) and other employees from complying with Congress,” Katz explains, “it could put individuals in a precarious legal position.”

Katz notes that according to legal experts that Government Executive has spoken to, “employees subject to conflicting demands have two options” — and the first one “is to violate orders from management and give Congress what it wants, assuming protections under whistleblower law.” The “second possibility,” Katz writes, “is to exercise federal employees’ statutory ‘right to disobey’ orders that violate laws, rules or regulations.”

Dan Meyer, a partner in the law firm Tully Rinckey, told Government Executive, “The best way to advance your career in the short term is to obey management. That’s the sad part about it.”

Government Executive also spoke to Debra D’Agostino, founding partner at the Federal Practice Group — and according to D’Agostino, the “general rule” for federal workers who are asked to do something they find questionable is to obey orders and complain through legal channels later. But D’Agostino warned that federal employees could face obstruction of justice charges if they aren’t careful.

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“The defense, ‘I was just doing what I was told,’ only goes so far,” D’Agostino told Government Executive. “In most cases where you should know better, you should know better — and you’re going to be held responsible.”

According to Meyer, “You want that grievance in place. You want that paperwork to say, ‘I did what I was told, but I reported it.’”


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Katie Porter demands resignation of Trump small business chief for enabling ‘abuse’ of Covid-19 relief funds

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California Congresswoman Katie Porter is demanding the resignation of the Trump administration's small business chief for enabling "abuse" and "waste" of coronavirus relief funds and refusing to comply with basic government oversight efforts.

Porter's call came after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report last week that it "encountered the most difficulty trying to obtain information from the Small Business Administration (SBA)" during the process of examining the Trump administration's handling of the $650 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

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2020 Election

‘We’ve got to get a new guy’: Florida Trump voters lash out at the president as they flee the GOP

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In interviews with CNN's Jeff Zeleny, longtime Florida Republicans who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 admitted they have no intention of helping him stay in office when they vote in November.

With polls showing the president trailing in the all-important Sunshine State, where seniors preferred Trump over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by 21 points last election, the president now finds himself bleeding support from a demographic he desperately needs if he wants to stay in the Oval Office after the first of the year.

According to retired banker John Dudley, 77, he voted for Trump last election and the president promptly "blew it."

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Woman behind anti-mask event has also shared image against washing hands amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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A woman has inspired an "unmasked shopping event" in Washington state after she was confronted in a grocery store for not wearing a mask. The irate shopper also doesn't appear to be a fan of vaccinations or handwashing.

"You're harassing me," Aubree Stone says in the video, as an employee of the grocery store asks her and her family to leave for refusing to wear a face covering.

"Get away from me and my child," Stone adds. "I cannot believe that you have the gall and the nerve to try and make somebody do something outside of their own will."

"It is a private business, would you like to see the law?" the employee, who identified herself as a manager, responds in the video.

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