Trump mulls suit to stop in­quiry

Lodi News-Sentinel - - NATION/WORLD - By John T. Ben­nett

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day said he might sue to halt House Democrats’ im­peach­ment in­quiry and lashed out at In­tel­li­gence Chair­man Adam B. Schiff as he strug­gled to fash­ion a mes­sage.

The pres­i­dent headed to the Oval Of­fice af­ter he re­turned to the White House for the first time since the in­quiry be­gan, and used Twit­ter to at­tack Schiff. So far, his strat­egy has mostly been to ham­mer Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chair­man with his usual vol­ley of in­sults and al­le­ga­tions, while try­ing to dis­credit all in­volved.

Trump crit­i­cized the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity whistle­blower whose com­plaint pushed Pelosi to move ahead with im­peach­ment for bas­ing his alarms on “only ... sec­ond hand in­for­ma­tion.” He also ques­tioned how Schiff can call that in­di­vid­ual “cred­i­ble” when the whistle­blower pos­sessed “zero info” and had a “known bias.”

But the lat­ter state­ment raises ques­tions be­cause the pres­i­dent has said he does not know who the whistle­blower is.

“It shouldn’t be al­lowed. There should be a way of stop­ping it. Maybe legally through the courts,” he told re­porters at Joint Base An­drews as he re­turned to Wash­ing­ton from New York.

The pres­i­dent did not ex­plain what le­gal ra­tio­nale any sit­ting com­man­der in chief would have to stop an im­peach­ment in­quiry. The monar­chy-weary au­thors of the Con­sti­tu­tion deemed a mech­a­nism to re­move a pres­i­dent over mis­con­duct or an abuse of power so im­por­tant they in­cluded it in the coun­try’s found­ing doc­u­ment.

“The Pres­i­dent, Vice Pres­i­dent and all Civil Of­fi­cers of the United States, shall be re­moved from Of­fice on Im­peach­ment for, and Conviction of, Trea­son, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Mis­de­meanors,” states Ar­ti­cle II of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Se­nior Democrats, in­clud­ing Pelosi, in re­cent days have sug­gested the pres­i­dent at times has be­haved like “a king.”

Trump’s com­ments came at Joint Base An­drews as he re­turned from morn­ing fundrais­ers in New York that capped his three-day visit there for a United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion.

Af­ter Ma­rine One landed on the White House’s South Lawn, Trump greeted a group of sup­port­ers but only waved to a large throng of re­porters who had am­ple ques­tions about House Democrats’ im­peach­ment in­quiry and his July 25 call with Ukraine’s new pres­i­dent on which the probe is largely cen­tered.

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