Attorney William Barr explains why the Department of Justice seeks to intervene in the defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll against President Trump, based on his denial of his allegation that he was raped in 1990s.
The DOJ filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to move the case from New York state court to federal court and for the United States to take Trump’s place as defendant. According to Barr, this is a normal use of the Westfall Act, which allows it in cases involving alleged actions of federal employees committed while working.
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“The law in the case is clear that the Westfall Act applies to claims against the president, the vice president, as well as other federal employees and members of Congress,”; Barr told reporters at a press conference. on Wednesday.
The news caused a stir among Democrats like Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who accused Barr of “acting as the President’s personal attorney.”
Carroll accused Trump after he said in an interview with The Hill that Carroll was “not my type” and “completely lying” when he accused her of raping him. He also said in a statement that he had not met it and that he was using the story to sell his book. An excerpt of the book with the allegation was published by New York Magazine, along with a photo of Trump and Carroll with their ex-wife in the 1980s.
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A lawyer for Carroll, Roberta Kaplan, dropped the DOJ on Tuesday: “Trump’s efforts to use the power of the United States government to avoid responsibility for his private misconduct are unprecedented, and showed much more clearly how far he wanted to go. prevent the truth from coming out. “
Carroll also issued a statement saying, “Today’s actions show that Trump will do everything possible, including using the full power of the federal government, to block the discovery from going forward in my case before the upcoming elections to try to prevent a jury from deciding. which of us is lying. “
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Barr further defended the move, citing the DC Circuit Court case involving former congressman Cass Ballenger of North Carolina, who was found to be acting “within the scope of work” when he spoke about his marital status when responding to a reporter’s questions in his office.
“So this is a normal application of the law,” the attorney general said. “The law is clear, it is done very often, and the little storm that is happening is largely due to the strange political climate in which we live.”
Fox News’ Alex Pappas, Marta Dhanis, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.