AG’s Stand Against Fani Willis’ 2020 Election Case

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III argued in a court filing Saturday that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ interpretation of the law in her 2020 election case against a former Trump Department of Justice official is an “affront to federal supremacy.”

In a lenthy declaration to U.S. District Judge Steve Jones of the Northern District of Georgia, the 91-year-old Meese, the nation’s top law enforcement officer for most of President Ronald Reagan’s second term, weighed in on Willis’ prosecution of former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.

Clark has been charged with racketeering in an alleged conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

The indictment accuses Clark along with former President Donald Trump and others with making false statements about the election in “furtherance of the conspiracy.”

Willis accused Clark of seeking in December 2020 to have then-acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue “sign and send a document that falsely stated that the United States Department of Justice had ‘identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple States, including the State of Georgia.'”

The draft letter was to go to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as well as then-Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, now deceased, and then-state Sen. Butch Miller, who at the time was president pro tempore of the Georgia Senate.

Law and Crime reported that the document recommended that the Georgia General Assembly “convene in a special session so that its legislators are in a position to take additional testimony, receive new evidence, and deliberate on the matter consistent with its duties under the U.S. Constitution.”

Rosen and Donoghue did not sign on to the letter, nor was it sent to the Georgia officials, Meese wrote out in his declaration, because Trump decided against it.

Meese, who received the presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump in 2019, argued that Clark’s drafting of the letter fell “squarely” within his federal authority in his role in the Justice Department.

“Disagreement on legal, factual, and policy matters in the halls of the Justice Department is commonplace, just as disagreements among lawyers in private practice, in state government, and in local government are common,” Meese wrote.

“I have never in all my years encountered a situation where a legal, factual, or legal policy dispute inside of some law-firm like entity-whether the U.S. Justice Department, state or local government law enforcement agencies, or private law firm on differing views of the facts-was treated as if the losing side had prepared a false writing, let alone a criminal false writing or an attempted criminal false writing,” he continued.

“Indeed, I encouraged my counsels and my AAGs to speak up when they disagreed with me or with each other so that we could pressure-test new legal and other ideas and make the positions we ultimately adopted as an entire Department stronger.”

Meese cited Supreme Court precedent in the 1977 Nixon v. Administrator of General Services case, which recognized the importance of privileged communications within the executive branch.

The ruling states that “the privilege is necessary to provide the confidentiality required for the President’s conduct of office. Unless he can give his advisers some assurance of confidentiality, a President could not expect to receive the full and frank submissions of facts and opinions upon which effective discharge of his duties depends.”

Meese related that he was aware of no instance in the past of a state criminal prosecution being brought against a president or DOJ official like Clark “for their privileged and confidential discussions of whether and how to assert federal law enforcement authority.”

He described it as a “major affront to federal supremacy never before seen in the history of our country.”

“If the premise of this prosecution were to be accepted, then state law enforcement officials could arrest local U.S. Attorneys and their Assistants while they were deliberating over whether and/or how to approach a possible prosecution of state or local officials,” Meese wrote.

Further, under Willis’ interpretation of the law, “state or local officials could enter the Oval Office and arrest the President and his Attorney General during their deliberations over whether and to what extent to assert federal law enforcement powers against state or local officials.”

Meese cited the early 1960s legal battles of President John Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, against Alabama Gov. George Wallace and Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus.

“Not even George Wallace or Orval Faubus, during the heights of the heated civil rights-era disputes, were willing to go that far against President Kennedy and his Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy,” Meese wrote.

Meese concluded that Clark’s communications with Trump and the document Clark drafted fell within his duties at the DOJ, and therefore his case should be removed to federal court.

The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland explained, “While federal courts in nearly all circumstances lack ‘jurisdiction’ or the power to hear a case involving the state’s prosecution of an alleged violation of the state’s criminal code, the ‘federal officer removal statute’ provides an exception to that rule.

“That statute, which is codified at § 1442(a)(1), provides that a ‘criminal prosecution that is commenced in a State court’ against an ‘officer’ of the United States or any federal agency may ‘remove’ the case to a federal court if the prosecution is ‘for or relating to any act under color of such office…'”

via westernjournal

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