President Donald Trump’s desperate effort to protect Attorney General Bill Barr and hide the full Mueller report from Congress by claiming executive privilege isn’t being bought by legal experts, who promptly ripped the pathetic tactic on Wednesday.
Just as the House Judiciary Committee began voting to hold Barr in contempt for not complying with a subpoena to release the full unredacted report with underlying evidence presented to the grand jury, the Department of Justice sent a letter to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) informing him that Trump has declared executive privilege over the entire report.
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The problem is that Trump has already waived executive privilege and Barr can get a court order to unseal the grand jury materials Congress has subpoenaed. So, Trump doesn’t have much legal ground to stand on, and several legal experts made that clear on Twitter.
Whatever it may mean in RUSSIAN,
“executive privilege” in ENGLISH
does NOT mean the
“unbounded right of the nation’s anointed ruler to trample all legal barriers and trump all checks and balances.”
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 8, 2019
When you buy a copy of the Mueller report on the Amazon website or download a copy over the Internet, you’re obtaining a “privileged” document, according to the Trump Administration.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s not you. It just doesn’t make sense. https://t.co/4KXP9M7FZQ
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 8, 2019
This letter is quite the sweeping stonewall. Compare it to the one @EricHolder sent to Obama in 2012. By this point then, DOJ had given Congress 7600 pages of underlying docs & made multiple witnesses avail for interviews. Barr is refusing all of that. https://t.co/JnRv3Ncp6U https://t.co/7sBNuOIMQt
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) May 8, 2019
This ludicrous distortion of executive privilege is nothing but a delay tactic. The Mueller report isn’t advice to the President, which is what the privilege is meant to protect. But I guess Trump’s efforts to conceal the report show he finally understands how bad it is for him.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) May 8, 2019
DOJ’s request to the White House to claim executive privilege over the whole Mueller report bears no relation at all to how executive privilege actually works legally. It’s just a hardball tactic to delay and resist legitimate oversight at every turn. https://t.co/L4yFLLrqmh
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) May 8, 2019
When given the chance to review the Mueller report before it was publicly released, the White House and the president’s lawyers declined to assert Executive Privilege over any part of it. Once publicly released, it lost any privileged character—the cat is out of the bag. https://t.co/SzcDYhcBNm
— Ted Boutrous (@BoutrousTed) May 8, 2019
Barr went out of his way to say Trump delegated executive privilege decisions to him & he was not asserting any privilege. While there are still legal arguments they can make, they are disingenuous at best, given the context. And, why conceal a report you claim exonerates you? https://t.co/IOg6WdyF3R
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 8, 2019
Even Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out the flaws.
“Executive privilege protects communications that the President has with senior advisers and senior members of the government,” he said. “If the redacted material is not in that category then it’s not even covered by executive privilege.”
And former Solicitor General Neal Katyal compared Trump’s effort to former President Richard Nixon’s during Watergate before noting that Trump’s executive privilege declaration in weaker than Nixon’s, which the Supreme Court crushed.
Ah. The Full Nixon. https://t.co/h736mFsTSQ
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) May 8, 2019
Below is an old thread I did on the topic with some background, which has held up well. https://t.co/aMG0RGEoqP
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) May 8, 2019
So, Trump should lose in court if our current Supreme Court Justices actually care about precedent and the rule of law. He is only delaying the inevitable as the law closes in on him.
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