Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Underwood wants to move quickly on Trump impeachment

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The Justice Department is looking to swiftly finalize the impeachment process against President Donald Trump, said New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, a Democrat taking over as New York’s special prosecutor.

“By the time we’ve had a chance to hear from the administration, that’s when we’ll have our own input,” Underwood said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

Underwood is taking over the Trump-related probe after her predecessor, former US Attorney Preet Bharara, resigned in March. And while the investigation is on her desk right now, she said she is also assembling her own lawyers to join the team.

And while she could still allow the president to enjoy the protection of the Fifth Amendment during an investigation, she would not rule out some type of indictment.

“We can’t get into those details,” she said. “But we are prepared to prosecute. Whether that occurs is a question that has to be answered by the courts.”

“We’re prepared to hold people accountable,” she said.

With impeachment being handled by the House, Republicans controlling the Senate need 60 votes to proceed with the process. But a Republican who was firmly in the president’s corner has fallen from Congress since Democrats won the House majority last month.

Former House speaker Paul Ryan appeared on “Fox News Sunday” for the first time since his party lost the majority. And he called for “full disclosure” on the Mueller investigation.

“A special counsel has only as much authority as the president’s pardon power will allow him to use,” Ryan said. “And the administration has to be fully forthcoming with all of the information.”

Ryan declined to answer whether he thinks Trump will fire Mueller, saying that depends on the investigation. But he did say he wants the DOJ to conduct an independent investigation of Russia, to be “constitutionally protected and accepted.”

Trump has threatened a presidential pardon for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, saying that he would “like to see” Flynn get one.

“We want to get the truth,” Ryan said. “That’s what we’re dedicated to.”

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