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William Barr. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A 2018 memo by now-Attorney General William Barr contradicts President Trump's legal argument that abuse of power is not alone an impeachable offense.

What we know: Barr issued the memo for the Justice Department and Trump's legal team while still in private practice. The 19-page document was written as Robert Mueller conducted his special investigation into whether Trump illegally interfered in the Russia probe.

  • Barr argued in the memo that Trump should not speak to investigators about his actions as president, even if subpoenaed. He based his recommendation "on a sweeping theory of executive power under which obstruction of justice laws do not apply to presidents, even if they misuse their authority over the Justice Department to block investigations into themselves or their associates for corrupt reasons," the New York Times writes.
  • However, Barr wrote that presidents who abuse their discretionary powers could be subject to penalties, including impeachment.
  • The memo posed that because the president "is ultimately subject to the judgment of Congress through the impeachment process means that the president is not the judge in his own cause."
  • The memo was made public during Barr's confirmation.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team argued in a 110-page brief this Monday that "House Democrats’ novel conception of ‘abuse of power’ as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective."

  • "It supplants the framers’ standard of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ with a made-up theory that the president can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of 'abuse of power.'"

Read Barr's memo here:

Go deeper: Live updates: Senators debate rules of Trump impeachment trial

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
16 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.