Testing the boundaries of executive privilege

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Former President of the United States Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Former President Trump has sued the National Archives and the chairman of the January 6 investigating committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, to try to prevent the disclosure of White House papers, records and communications up to and during the riot. He’s asserting executive privilege. What does that mean again? Where does the idea of executive privilege come from, and how are the interests weighed in a situation like this? And then...does a former president have a strong executive privilege claim? That’s a not-very-well-explored question.

Trump is also instructing former advisers, including Steve Bannon, not to comply with subpoenas from the committee. Bannon hasn’t been complying and so the committee voted to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress. Does that mean the Sergeant at Arms has a job to do? (Not just yet.)

Plus: President Trump is deposed for more than four hours, New York’s new anti-SLAPP law and the Summer Zervos lawsuit, Lev Parnas’s ongoing trial, and Congressman Fortenberry is indicted.



Sara Fay, Nisha Venkat