Trump Administration Invokes Executive Privilege Over Mueller Report< < Back to
The Trump administration has invoked executive privilege over the contents of the Mueller report, escalating the confrontation between congressional Democrats and the White House over documents related to the investigation of President Trump and the Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd released a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., “to advise you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials.” The letter called it a”protective assertion” to ensure “the President’s ability to make a final decision whether to assert privilege following a full review of these materials.”
The assertion came as the House Judiciary Committee debated whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing its demands to turn over an underacted version of the report.
The dispute centers on congressional Democrats’ demands to see the entire version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian interference in the 2016 election. A redacted version of the report has been made public, and a select group of lawmakers has been able to view a less-redacted version. But Democrats want a wider circle of lawmakers, including all members of the judiciary and intelligence committees to see the complete report as well as the underlying evidence, including the investigative files that Mueller collected.
A Justice Department letter sent Tuesday night said releasing that information “would force the Department to risk violating court orders and rules in multiple ongoing prosecutions, as well as risk the disclosure of information that could compromise ongoing investigations.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that “Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege.” Sanders called it “sad that Chairman Nadler is only interested in pandering to the press and pleasing his radical left constituency.”
It’s not clear how the Trump administration can argue that the contents of the Mueller report can be subject to executive privilege as the vast majority of it has already been made public and a published version is in fact a best-seller.
The assertion came a day after the administration threatened to invoke executive privilege to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from turning over to the judiciary committee documents including his note,s which deal with the issue of whether Trump ordered McGahn attempted to fire Mueller.