When it comes to how the executive branch conducts foreign policy with other countries, who's really in charge? The president or the diplomats working for him?
On Sunday night's episode of Life, Liberty & Levin on Fox News, LevinTV host Mark Levin and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes discussed this question related to the ongoing impeachment effort against President Donald Trump.
"Despite what the State Department may think, and what many congressmen and senators think, the president of the United States sets the [foreign] policy," Nunes explained. "It's very clear."
Last week, the House impeachment probe heard from George Kent, William Taylor, and Marie Yovanovitch, all longtime career diplomats. One of the most salient criticisms of the trio's testimony was that they largely seemed to focus on policy and procedural disagreements with how the president did things, rather than anything legitimately impeachable.
"These ambassadors were upset that the president somehow was going around them," Nunes said. "Well, tough."
Nunes went on to point out that, while congressional investigators heard the secretive, closed-door depositions during the first stage of the current impeachment effort, "we [Republicans] kept coming out of there saying, like, look, we understand there's a policy disagreement; people in the State Department didn't like that the president had a special envoy, they didn't like that the EU ambassador was going over to Ukraine, they didn't like that [Trump's personal lawyer] Rudy Giuliani was investigating what was happening in Ukraine, but tough. Tough luck. The president gets to make those calls."
Levin and Nunes discussed the talking point that Trump had created an "irregular channel" for dealing with Ukraine matters during the period of time the impeachment probe is focused on. Levin countered that idea by pointing out that there has been a long history of U.S. presidents using supposedly irregular channels outside the State Department bureaucracy, pointing to George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt as just two examples.
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