Nov 16, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Bill Barr defends Trump's executive power amid impeachment inquiry

William Barr

Attorney General William Barr. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr vehemently defended President Trump's executive authority and said Trump's opponents were "engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government," in a speech before a conservative legal group Friday.

Why it matters: Barr's speech "affirmed his credentials as a staunch defender of presidential power," CNN writes. His show of public support comes amid reports that his refusal to publicly absolve the president in the Trump-Ukraine saga has fractured their relationship.

What he's saying: In his speech at an annual Federalist Society Convention, Barr mentioned that Trump's opponents call themselves "The Resistance," and the attorney general accused them of "using every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of [Trump's] Administration."

  • "Now, 'resistance' is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power ... This is a very dangerous—indeed incendiary—notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic," Barr said.
  • “[I]n waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war of 'Resistance' against this Administration, it is the Left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining the rule of law."
  • Barr explained that he believes Congress has some authority to conduct oversight on the executive branch, "[b]ut the sheer volume of what we see today – the pursuit of scores of parallel 'investigations' through an avalanche of subpoenas – is plainly designed to incapacitate the Executive Branch, and indeed is touted as such."  

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