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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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US President Donald Trump says there is "nothing wrong" with listening to foreign governments offering dirt on his political opponents. (AFP / SAUL LOEB)

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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Pro-Trump conservatives ‘trading short-term political gain for long-term ruin’: columnist

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Writing in The Atlantic this Wednesday, Rachel Shelden contends that Republicans are finding themselves "boxed in" after enabling President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about mass voter fraud in the 2020 election.

According to Shelden, the current situation Republicans face is similar to the aftermath of the 1860 election.

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‘NO WAY!’ Trump starts off Thanksgiving by whining about his election loss

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President Donald Trump started off Thanksgiving by whining about his election loss to Joe Biden.

Biden earned a record 80 million votes, with ballots still being counted, and the president reacted to that news Thursday by insisting his loss was impossible.

"Just saw the vote tabulations," Trump tweeted. "There is NO WAY Biden got 80,000,000 votes!!! This was a 100% RIGGED ELECTION."

Twitter immediately slapped a disclaimer on his unfounded claims, which have been rejected over and over by courts and were disputed by the Homeland Security official who oversaw election security -- until the president fired him.

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Trump will soon be a ‘dumpy 74-year-old wheeling around the golf course’ while awaiting ‘his next cheeseburger’: columnist

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Daily Beast columnist Margaret Carlson on Thursday published a brutal opinion piece in which she danced on President Donald Trump's political grave and relished the thought of his fading into irrelevancy.

In her column, Carlson acknowledged many liberals' fears that Trump will never leave the national spotlight, but she said the soon-to-be-ex-president is more likely to be treated more like a washed-up celebrity that a political icon.

"To those worried we will never rid ourselves of Trump, watch as he shrinks before our very eyes in a Washington minute from leader of the free world to a broken-down real estate developer up to his ears in debt," she wrote. "On Monday, Trump was just another dumpy 74-year-old man wheeling around the golf course in a motorized cart wondering how long it would be until his next cheeseburger."

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