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DOJ places new legal barrier between Democrats and witnesses of Trump impeachment



The Justice Department reopens a new front in the legal battle between constitutional impeachment investigators and the White House on Tuesday, announcing that Congress must allow government attorneys to accompany executive witnesses testifying about President Tampa's relationship Ukraine.

In a recent memo, the Office of the Legal Counsel of the Ministry of Justice stated that "the assistance of a lawyer's adviser is necessary because the testimony can reveal information" protected by the privilege of the executive. "

The House Intelligence Committee, which took the lead in the impeachment investigation, was heard by a number of witnesses whose personal lawyers were allowed to attend the depositions. But the Justice Department says in its note that the exclusion of government attorneys deprives Trump of his constitutional authority to check privileged information from lawmakers.

The Office's new legal position is the latest development in the fight between Congress and the White House for access to information that House Democrats say needs to weigh the impeachment case of President Trump ] Donald John TrumpHillary Clinton calls on Democrats to choose a candidate who can win Shimkus Electoral College announces that he will stick to his plan to retire after review Rand Paul Requires Media Press Name to Print MORE .

A five-page report by the Department of Justice states that congressional calls for witnesses to appear without a lawyer are "legally invalid".

"(The House Intelligence Committee) could solve the problem of separation of powers by allowing an agency lawyer to assist the clerk during the deposition," the report said. "If the commission did not, however, a summons requesting a witness to appear without such assistance would be invalid and not subject to civil or criminal enforcement."

The attorneys representing the House Democrats did not immediately respond to request for comment.


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