Thursday, October 31, 2019

There Is No Basis for Barr to Recuse Himself Over Ukraine

Yuri Gripas/Reuters
Here’s a question: If Dianne Feinstein didn’t recuse herself from the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, why should anyone ever be recused from anything?
Senator Feinstein is in the news, making the characteristically hyperpartisan and frivolous claim (on Twitter) that Attorney General Bill Barr should
recuse himself from matters related to Ukraine because of concerns about his role in President Trump’s efforts to damage a political opponent and undermine the Russia investigation.
Feinstein says she is speaking for Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats, all of whom have signed a letter to the AG.
There is no basis for Barr to recuse himself.
First, before we ever get to the law, the Democrats’ claim is factually vacant. The AG has no role in President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Barr did not ask the president to intercede with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for the purpose of seeking assistance with the ongoing Durham probe of the Russia investigation. Despite the president’s reference to Barr in the July 25 Zelensky phone call, Barr did not communicate with Trump about Ukraine before the call. Barr did not follow up with the Ukrainians, nor did he discuss Ukraine with the president or the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Being mentioned on a phone call is not a basis for recusal.
Second, it is commonplace for the Justice Department to seek assistance from foreign governments in gathering evidence or providing access to witnesses, in both the investigative and the trial phases of criminal cases. With respect to Ukraine specifically, the United States has had a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters for nearly 20 years. President Clinton directed that the treaty be signed in 1998 and ratified it in early 2001 with Senate consent.
That is, if Attorney General Barr had explicitly asked President Trump to seek Ukraine’s assistance, that would have been completely appropriate and routine.
Read the rest from Andrew C. McCarthy HERE.

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