Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., speaks with aide on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
UPDATED 8:03 PM PT — Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Senate Democrats are working on a number of proposals to limit the president’s powers to recall ambassadors. According to reports, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is drafting new rules aimed at limiting the president’s power over the State Department, including one which would grant Congress more authority to question the president over their decision to recall ambassadors.
This comes amid speculation President Trump recalled former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich last year after she was suspected of impeding an investigation into corruption in Ukraine. Democrats have argued this constitutes an abuse of power by President Trump. They have also alleged he kicked Yovanovitch out for political gain.
However, opponents of the rules have argued they would go too far to limit the executive branch. Former Afghanistan Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann weighed in on the proposals by saying it’s important the president has the ability to remove ambassadors at their discretion.
The controversy over the treatment of Yovanovitch by the Trump administration came to a head during the House’s impeachment hearings, following her testimony.
It was also alleged that President Trump had private associates of his follow the Ukraine ambassador, which prompted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to launch a probe into the incident. He said he doesn’t think the claims will prove to be true.
“We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” said Pompeo. “I suspect that much of what’s been reported we’ll ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as Secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate anytime there’s someone who poses there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, during the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
In recent weeks, there have been similar calls from Democrats to rein in the president’s power over the executive branch, specifically on President Trump’s decision to defy subpoenas for White House officials to testify in the House’s impeachment inquiry. This is something the president is allowed to do exerting executive privilege.
Either way, it appears the Democrat’s fight to limit the powers of the executive branch and to attack President Trump are far from over.