Willliam Barrett, the former vice president who was impeached by the Senate in 2006 for failing to follow proper ethics practices during his time as vice president, has agreed to testify in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
The move comes as the Senate prepares to vote on whether to hold hearings on the charges against Barrett.
The former vice presidential candidate and his lawyers have agreed to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to discuss the potential impact of Barrett’s testimony in the Senate’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, a source close to the matter told CNN.
Barrett’s testimony would likely be the first time the former president’s former counsel has come forward with a public account of the charges.
“I have been offered the opportunity to be a witness in the Congressional investigation into Trump’s conduct as President,” Barrett said in a statement on Friday.
“However, I believe it would be irresponsible for me to take up this opportunity in this matter at this time.”
In the wake of the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in May, Barrett and several of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill called for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
According to the indictment, Barrett, who served as vice chairman of the Trump transition team and served as White House counsel, failed to report conflicts of interest while serving in his post as vice presidential nominee, including on his duties as a paid speaker at a political convention.
“I believe that a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the Russia investigation, and I intend to lead the effort,” Barrett told The Washington Post in July, shortly after the Trump administration fired Comey.
“The public needs to know what occurred, and they need to be told the truth.”
BARNS OFFERED THE PUBLIC A “CONSENSUS” ABOUT RUSSIA INVESTIGATION, A SENATE HELPING OUT TRUMP’S FEDERAL CREDITBANKS Source The Washington Post article Barrett, who was a co-founder of Trump’s presidential campaign and later served as a member of Trump and Trump Tower security detail, said that he would not be speaking to the Senate.
During a recent interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the congresswoman said that her client’s testimony could help push the investigation forward.
Asked if she had confidence that the Trump White House would take action against the former attorney general for his handling of the Russia probe, Barrett replied, “I think it’s very important to have that discussion and it’s a conversation that needs to happen.”
“And if the president wants to take it on, I think it will be very important for the president to have this conversation,” she added.
But Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow and Marc Kasowitz, have indicated they would like to use Barrett’s statements to argue that the president should not be impeached.
Sekulow, who has previously suggested that the charges should be dropped, told CNN on Friday that if the former VP is not forthcoming, then it would have to be because the President was not a party to any criminal action.
Kasowitz, meanwhile, told Fox News that the President’s defense team should be able to present its case “without a question of obstruction of justice.”
Kessler said that the impeachment investigation could be an opportunity for the public to hear the former administration’s story about how it ended up firing Comey.
The Senate has scheduled a hearing for August to begin a week later than usual in an effort to answer questions about how the President ended up being fired, including how the FBI was able to obtain surveillance of Trump during his campaign, what happened after he was ousted, and whether Trump obstructed justice in the way that was alleged in the indictment.
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