DOJ Wants To Overturn Watergate & Places Presidents Above The Law
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Unbelievable!!! On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, the White House attempted to obstruct Congress’ impeachment investigation by having the State Department blocking critical witness in Congress’ impeachment inquiry from testifying about President Donald Trump’s effort in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and potentially tie critical military aid to those investigations. Furthermore, the Department of Justice (DOJ) tried to block the release of the remaining redacted materials of the Mueller report and underlying evidence from Congress, arguing that if Watergate were happening today, DOJ should have been able to prevent the release of grand jury evidence to Congress and to the public. In essence, the DOJ is trying to overturn the Watergate case of Nixon era (when grand jury was allowed to turn over evidence to congressional investigators as part of an impeachment inquiry). So, William Barr is basically saying that Richard Nixon should not have been impeached.
Excerpt, below, in italics, is from slate.com
The precedent in question rests on the 1974 case Haldeman v. Sirica.
In March 1974, shortly after Congress initiated its impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon, then-Chief Judge John Sirica, ordered materials from the Watergate grand jury turned over to Congress in what would come to be known as the “Watergate road map” for impeachment. Defendants accused of and eventually convicted for trying to cover up Watergate argued that Rule 6(E) of the federal code governing grand juries, which lays out limited exceptions that allow the disclosure of grand jury materials, prevented the release. Sirica ruled that an impeachment, as a judicial proceeding, qualified as one of those exceptions and thus the materials had to be released to Congress.
“It seems incredible that grand jury matters should lawfully be available to disbarment committees and police disciplinary investigations and yet be unavailable to the House of Representatives in a proceeding of so great import as an impeachment investigation,” Sirica noted in his ruling. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit at the time refused to block Sirica’s ruling. Just this year, in a separate case called McKeever v. Barr, the D.C. Circuit Court upheld Haldeman v. Sirica, saying that it read the case “as fitting within the Rule 6 exception for ‘judicial proceedings.’ ”
So the case law appears settled. But Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department is still seeking to prevent the release of that material to Congress, citing the 6(E) exception and newly arguing the old position of the Watergate criminals: that impeachment is not a judicial proceeding.
Ultimately, the DOJ’s position would place the president essentially above the law: The DOJ has held that the president can’t be indicted, and if Congress can’t access evidence of presidential malfeasance as part of an impeachment inquiry, then there would virtually be no legal mechanism for holding him to account.
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Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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