The Justice Department is run by William Barr, and given the magnitude of this matter, it seems impossible that at a minimum he wouldn't have been kept informed of every development.
According to an opinion from the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, Atkinson determined "the President's actions could involve a "serious or flagrant problem, "abuse", or violation of law, and [Atkinson] observed that federal law prohibits any person from soliciting or accepting a campaign contribution from a foreign national". His comments as Democrats have questioned whether President Donald Trump improperly used his office to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son.
"You are absolutely right Mr. President". "What I think is truly a bombshell is that President Trump included the nation's attorney general, Bill Barr, in his conversation along with his personal political attorney Rudy Giuliani, as the two people that the Ukrainian president should be consulting with in this despicable act to try to create an investigation of Vice President Biden and his family".
Some of Trump's Republican defenders have sought to cast a high-bar for allegations of wrongdoing, but no such bar is required as it concerns Congress's oversight or impeachment powers.
"Ukraine depends on the US for economic, military, and diplomatic support - especially in its attempts to push back against Russian aggression - and is particularly vulnerable to pressure from any USA president".
Trump acknowledge the call, but said that the discussion was centered around preventing foreign corruption from invading Ukraine.
Trump is seeking re-election in 2019 and is accused by the Democrats of asking Ukraine's help to smear Biden. These near the legal professional common argue there would have been no motive for him to recuse, and even seek the advice of ethics officers, as a result of he was unaware of the president's dialog on the time it occurred and was not concerned in any dialogue of investigating Biden and his son, Hunter. "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds awful to me", Trump added.
The official said that Barr was not involved at all in the analysis inside the criminal division as to whether Trump's conduct was criminal, noting he was on vacation during most of the review, but said that he was kept aware of developments in the case and the Criminal Division's eventual decision. And, the record of the July 25 call shows, Trump repeatedly brought up the matter with Zelensky.
Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has admitted to telling Ukraine to investigate Biden but maintained it was not a part of any broader attempt to influence the 2020 presidential election.
All of which is contributing to escalating alarm among Democrats about how Barr may have been involved in this process or the underlying incidents. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked Barr if the president or anyone else in the White House had asked or suggested that he open an investigation of anyone. "At the time, he seemed stumped". Barr has additionally defied subpoenas from Congress - in step with the Trump administration's stance to dam Democrats' efforts to analyze Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will make an announcement Tuesday afternoon after she meets with House chairmen and members of the Democratic caucus.
At this point we should remind ourselves that the entire reason Barr is attorney general is that he made clear that, unlike his predecessor, he would make protecting Trump his highest priority.
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