Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

White House lawyer: Trump 'eager' to talk to Robert Mueller

U.S. President Donald Trump and former advisor Steve Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff at the White House on Jan. 22 2017 Donald Trump - CNBC - CNBC.com
Ellis Copeland | 21 January, 2018, 02:06

But executive privilege - the president's right to keep some communications and records secret - has been part of almost every presidency since George Washington. Bannon has worked out an arrangement to testify privately in Mueller's office in lieu of in front of the grand jury.

Trump acted to limit Bannon's testimony based on legal advice provided by Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, who concluded that the administration might have legitimate executive privilege claims to restrict testimony by Bannon and other current and former aides to the president, according to these same sources.

The twin developments intensify the pressure on the former Breitbart News executive after his public falling-out with President Donald Trump, who reacted angrily to comments Bannon made in the new book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House".

The subpoena was issued last week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who said that Bannon expects to be able to persuade the special counsel's office to accept a voluntary interview of Bannon by prosecutors in place of a grand jury appearance.

Here are some questions and answers about the extent of executive privilege, and its use in recent administrations. "We've been cooperating fully with these ongoing investigations and encourage the committees to work with us to find an appropriate accommodation in order to ensure Congress obtains information necessary to its legitimate interests".

Q. What is executive privilege?

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"If a particular piece of information is privileged, it's privileged", he told The Independent.

The Constitution does not mention the term, neither does it explain this concept.

"That is the way it will end up with the president as well", Dershowitz said.

The Supreme Court has never ruled on executive privilege in congressional inquiries. Former President Dwight Eisenhower was the one who coined the phrase "executive privilege". Joseph McCarthy. Eisenhower, between 1955 and 1960, invoked the privilege 44 times. He tried to withhold the White House audio recordings during the Watergate investigation, but failed to do so. Like President Trump he suffered an embarrassing defeat on healthcare reform.

The United States v. Nixon was one of the defining moments for the concept. The most recent court case involving claims of executive privilege was over Congress' effort to force the Obama administration to release documents pertaining to a failed law enforcement program called Operation Fast and Furious.

It was also invoked during a lawsuit from the 2012 implementation of "Net Worth Sweep", a government plan to divert profits from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - two mortgage companies that were bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis - to the Treasury.

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