'Trump told me to do this': Analyst predicts ex-president’s aides’ conflict 'only going to increase'
Former acting solicitor general and law professor Neal Katyal joined MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber Tuesday to discuss whether "political activity" falls under the list of official duties for government employees.
Ex-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division Jeffrey Clark, who were both indicted by a Fulton County Superior Court grand jury last month alongside ex-President Donald Trump on charges related to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election, both argue that they were acting within their official duties as government officials.
When Melber asked Katyal whether their argument stands, he replied, "There's no world in which overthrowing an election, Ari, is part of your job duties. Look, I worked at the Justice Department twice. Everyone at the Justice Department knows there's a strict prohibition against employees engaging in political activity as part of their job. So, leave aside that engage in coup — just the claim that Meadows made today is, 'Well, there's no way to have a line between politics and the regular work of a government official,' and that is just totally wrong. There is no Donald Trump exception to the Hatch Act, which is the act that forbids political activity by people in the Justice Department, and with respect to Meadows — I think the most important thing — this is why he lost his removal motion. The judge in a 49-page opinion said the Constitution cuts out the executive branch from one thing — which is presidential elections — for the most important of reasons."
Katyal continued, "Otherwise you'd use your powers as an incumbent to install yourself and keep yourself in power. That's why the founders did it. That's, of course, exactly what Donald Trump tried to do with Meadows and Clark and the like. And to me, the most significant point of all these court actions over the last 48 hours is you're seeing, Ari, the conflict between Trump and his aides like Meadows and Clark. But Clark is saying in his filing, 'Trump told me to do this,' and he's blaming Trump, and these kinds of conflicts are only going to increase over time."
In an op-ed published by Just Security last month, legal experts Walter Shaub, Norm L. Eisen and Joshua Kolb wrote, "The very purpose of the Hatch Act was to place political acts of the kind charged here beyond the reach of the office of chief of staff to the president. A person who holds the position of White House chief of staff may never use their official authority as a government employee to influence an election…. Put simply, Meadows cannot meet his burden of demonstrating a connection between the conduct and his duties because his duty was specifically to avoid committing the conduct. He cannot show he was 'carrying out' his 'executive duties' because his duty was to carry out a law prohibiting that conduct."
Watch the video below or at this link.
'There's no world in which overthrowing an election, Ari, is part of your job duties': legal analystyoutu.be
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