Attorney: Biden's 'privilege' claims sound like Trump officials' pre-jail arguments

 May 20, 2024

According to one legal expert, President Biden's use of executive privilege to prevent the publication of recordings of his interviews with special counsel Robert Hur is comparable to former President Trump's attempts to do the same while in office.

While agreeing with Attorney General Merrick Garland that "law enforcement files like these need to be protected," the White House invoked executive privilege to prevent the audio recordings from becoming public, despite the fact that transcripts of Biden's interview with Hur had already been provided to a committee, as Fox News reported.

"The same arguments were made during the Trump years as are being made now. It's just that the roles are reversed," former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy told Fox News Digital.

More of the expert's comments ...

"For example, during the Mueller investigation, Trump made available Don McGahn, who was the White House counsel.

"They not only let Mueller interview McGahn at length, but McGahn took voluminous notes of his conversations with Trump, which they also turned over. And then Democrats wanted to subpoena McGahn to come to the House Judiciary Committee, and the Republicans fought it.

"What they said was giving information to an executive branch prosecutor doesn't waive the privilege as to Congress," he added. "The Democrats all said that this was an obstruction of justice, that it was outrageous, that he'd already waived the privilege by allowing McGhan to speak to the prosecutor."

Executive privilege, which has existed since the inception of the nation, grants the executive branch immunity from judicial and legislative surveillance of particular internal discussions and documents.

What privilege should cover ...

This affords the president a brief period of time to reflect before consulting with his staff: "The fact is that since the Republic started, presidents have been withholding information from Congress," McCarthy said.

By holding individuals in contempt, among other methods, Congress can coerce information from the executive branch.

"Congress has a whole arsenal of stuff from the Constitution, powers that it can use to fight back and pry information out of the executive branch," McCarthy said.

"You know, you can slash budgets or hold up appointments, and if it gets bad enough, you can start holding people in contempt. … The final option, obviously, is impeachment."

A word of caution ...

On the contrary, McCarthy cautioned that such endeavors may become more arduous should the president's party wield sufficient sway in Congress.

"If the president's party has enough sway in Congress that you can stop that arsenal from being used, then the whole thing is just a political calculation," he said.

"Like for Biden here, it's how much worse would I be hurt by letting the tape come out or the recording come out than by stonewalling. It looks like the tape is so bad, he's decided that even though he's going to be damaged by stonewalling, that's better than letting the tape out."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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