Executive Privilege: Blocks on Blocks

The Flag Staff Contributor
Executive Privilege: Blocks on Blocks
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Executive Privilege: Last week, Trump and his team went back and forth with courts to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 attacks, in defiance of the House committee investigating them. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

Top Story: Executive Privilege

Last week, we saw a whiplash-inducing back-and-forth between former President Donald Trump and the courts. Trump and his team had fought to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 attacks, in defiance of the House committee investigating them. Multiple headlines covered the attempted blocks by Trump as well as the courts blocking him in return. It initially seemed like a defeat for the former president, with a judge ruling that his executive powers don’t “[exist] in perpetuity.” However, Trump got a win when “a federal appeals court intervened on Thursday to temporarily block the National Archives from handing over Trump administration records…” The Jan. 6 committee has also issued subpoenas to several Trump White House associates who’ve been reticent to comply. Former adviser Steve Bannon has already been “held in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena.” Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also received a subpoena and is at risk of facing a contempt-of-Congress vote. Here’s what both sides are saying as we begin a new week.

On The Left

“Trump won a round in records fight. The Jan. 6 committee will win the war.” Jessica Levinson, MSNBC: “Trump’s victory is almost certainly temporary … It should go without saying that it is not just beneficial, but necessary, to learn things that include what Trump knew about the attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power and what he said to others about attempts to undermine the certification of the presidential election … any federal judge, regardless of who appointed them, should reject Trump’s bid to deprive the House committee of these documents. Here we have a former president who is trying to block the release of records that could further implicate him in what certainly is looking like an attempted coup. Executive privilege is, very broadly, designed to allow presidents to obtain candid advice and be able to have conversations that may include sensitive topics such as national security without fear that Congress will later attempt to obtain information about those conversations. The privilege is not absolute…”

“Trump is losing in court. But his threat to democracy is growing.” Paul Waldman, The Washington Post Opinion: “Trump’s assertion that a former president can continue to shield records that likely reveal misconduct is … repugnant … The chances that he could succeed are increased by the normalization of his own corruption and that of those around him. You might remember how in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6, some corporations announced that they would cease contributions to the Republicans who voted to overturn the election. But now that memories have begun to fade, some of those companies have resumed lining the pockets of the lieutenants in Trump’s war on democracy. … In the early days of [Trump’s] presidency, people would often respond to the latest shocking piece of news by saying ‘This is not normal.’ The greatest danger we face is that any of us will look at not just the Trump years but what is happening right now as normal.”

“Supreme Court’s Watergate-era rulings against Nixon may end Trump’s executive privilege claims.” Joan Biskupic, CNN: “… past decisions involving assertions of executive privilege to keep documents confidential suggest Trump has a weak case … ‘The privilege is not for the benefit of the President as an individual, but for the benefit of the Republic,’ the Supreme Court declared in a 1977 touchstone decision involving former President Richard Nixon.” Keep reading.

On The Right

Right-leaning commentators are not entirely aligned on how they view Trump’s claims. Some believe his executive privilege claims are legitimate, while others call them “bogus.” Nevertheless, they still stand behind Trump, and some think challenging his claims could hurt Democrats in the future.

“Beware of Trifling With Trump’s Executive Privilege.” Editorial, The New York Sun: “The Democrats who are suing to break President Trump’s executive privilege in respect of January 6 might want to be careful for what they wish. The same constitutional lee in which Mr.Trump is trying to shelter might someday — even as early as 2023 — be invoked by a Democratic president, like, say, one Joseph Biden. The burden for the House Democrats is to avoid, in their zeal to get Mr. Trump, degrading the presidency itself. … ‘Presidential conversations are presumptively privileged, but the privilege is not absolute,’ Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled. ‘The presumption can be overcome by an appropriate showing of public need by the judicial or legislative branch.’ … Trifling with the idea of executive privilege that goes back to George Washington would be detrimental to presidents of any party, a point that may prickle sooner than the Democrats would like.”

“Trump’s executive privilege claims are bogus, but his case does deserve review.” Quin Hillyer, Washington Examiner: “Former President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege almost certainly are flawed, so Trump is likely to lose and the documents likely to be released. Still, for purposes of the preliminary injunction, the court made the right call. While endless delays would not be in order here, a temporary halt is the only just decision. Executive privilege claims are serious matters, even though they are made far too expansively and far too often. As a flashpoint of disputes about where to properly apply lines about the separation of powers between government branches, such assertions of privilege get to the very heart of the constitutional design. … Again, Trump almost certainly is in the wrong here. Still, the former president deserves his day in court.”

“Trump case could come back to bite Biden.” Niall Stanage, The Hill: “Opponents of former President Trump celebrated earlier this week after a federal judge rejected his attempt to withhold documents … But that could end up becoming a case of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ The ruling — and the case in general — could easily weaken the ability of a past president to protect confidential discussions. … it is easy to imagine a future Republican president and a GOP-majority Congress weaponizing the exact same logic to embarrass a Democratic predecessor…” Keep reading.

Flag This: Executive Privilege

The Capitol riot was a shocking and defining moment in American history. The House committee tasked with investigating Jan. 6 was established to understand the lead-up to these events, who was responsible for its organization, and whether or not former President Trump and his administration were involved. The findings of the investigation would ultimately be used to bring the responsible parties to justice and prevent future occurrences.

However, support for the investigative committee has fallen in the last few months. A late-October poll from Morning Consult/Politico found that “Under half (48 percent) of voters approve of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol – down 5 percentage points since a late July survey. Roughly a quarter of independents (23 percent) said they were unsure of their views on the committee’s work, up 9 points over seven weeks, though a plurality are still in favor of it. Just 18 percent of Republicans approve of the panel, down from 25 percent earlier this year and far less than the 81 percent of Democrats who back the committee.”

Flag Poll: Executive Privilege

Do you support the House Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot? Comment below to share your thoughts.

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Amy M
8 months ago

So fedup with the witch hunt! Enough tax payer wasteful spending! The fingers all point to Pelosi and FBI bringing in the busloads of thugs dressed as BLM/antifa. Media is so based! Even Adam Schiff was found out in his role with Rissia Collusion. All truth will come out.

Thomas Bender
8 months ago

The Democrats need this investigation to take the country’s mind off the series of very serious problems facing our country. Problems that are not easily solved. Further they need to keep Trump in the crosshairs for the same reason. Forget the investigation and start working on the real problems we elected you to address.

8 months ago

This witch hunt is a waste of time and money. Plus it’s a Democratic Party means of diverting our attention from important issues: Americans abandoned in Afghanistan, the ridiculous Southern border issues, raging inflation, the sitting President’s incompetence. And if they want to extinguish Executive Privilege then it should disappear forever for all past, current and future Presidents. Let the Democrats think on that!

8 months ago

I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would rather have Congress waste time on this than solve real problems. Literally embarrassing.

8 months ago

I do not support the house like today’s investigation into the January 6 capital riot. However, if we continue down this lane then I think it’s appropriate that all the riots throughout 2018 and 2019 should be investigated and prosecuted just as this one has been or will do. There were federal buildings that were destroyed or at least damaged to the point where the American taxpayer was again on the hook to fix them. There were many businesses that were burned and who’s paying for those, insurance companies and or federal government, again taxpayers. I agree with the many thoughts below there are much more serious items the current administration is not looking into or even attempting to correct.

Lara Haggerty
Reply to  Tim
8 months ago

It is so bizarre to me that damage only seems to count if you are on a certain side of the issue that let to the damage. Wrong is wrong, I wish we could get back to that’

8 months ago

If the committee consisted of people who were not so vocal anti-Trump it would appear at least less biased and may have had a smidgeon of support from some people or at least garnered some interest instead of anger. The politicians have to back off ASAP from this Trump-hate syndrome to retain some degree of respect – which no one has for them anymore. This is a waste of time and money in an already ruined economy that can’t afford to spend anymore on sloppy, fake “investigations” instigated by partisan hate. This political environment seems hell-bent on serving platitudes,fake moral issues, lies and trash talk instead of really doing anything good for the country. The media should be shut down completely including social media – the most unsociable method of communication ever invented – even it’s name “social” is another lie.

Lara Haggerty
Reply to  Kathy
8 months ago

Anti-Trump hysteria led to the Wuhan Lab leak theory being labeled a conspiracy theory. So much time passed we will never know the truth.

Don Shell
8 months ago

This investigation is critically important to expose and understand the emerging takeover of the US Government by white supremacists who believe that diversity is somehow to blame for the fact that all the rich folks like Trump that are screwing them with fraudulent fund raisers and gouging them while they stay poor and struggling is exposed for all to see! Amazing how all the right wingers just ignore Trump cozying up to Putin when we all know Russia is not a friend; amazing how all the right wingers ignore Trump’s horrible handling of the pandemic leaving hundreds of thousands dead for nothing. Sure blame Pelosi or anybody but the true traitors. The best country in the world getting ruined. Sad.

Lara Haggerty
Reply to  Don Shell
8 months ago

The Putin/Trump connection is being exposed for the hysterically falsehood it is. I personally wonder of the Biden/Putin connection. Biden cancelled our pipeline but okayed Russia’s. No corruption there, right?

Lara Haggerty
8 months ago

What needs to be investigated? Some jerks took things too far and are facing the consequences. To call it an insurrection is overstating what happened. People died and it was ugly. People got hysterical and made lots of wild claims most of which turned out to be false. I have to wonder how many know that in fact no one was beaten with a fire extinguisher let alone died from it. Widely stated as fact by the media at the time. Silence when it comes to setting the record straight. An unarmed woman was shot to death but the media didn’t like the side she was on so no outrage just silence. It was ugly and out of control like too much of our society today. We are giving so much time to the worst of us instead of finding concrete solutions to our many problems. Waste of time and our money to no end I can see. Move on and deal with the many many issues that Americans are facing today!!!

8 months ago

Definitely! It was sedition and those involved in the storming of the capital, including the politicians need to be brought to justice. If not, this could happen again when a group doesn’t like the outcome of an election.