On Tuesday, the former White House lawyer, Don McGahn, who threatened to quit because Donald Trump was asking him to “do crazy sh*t” ignored a congressional subpoena and failed to show up at a hearing to testify in front of Congress. Trump, who fired McGahn once he found out that the attorney had sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, spun a crazy, desperate story about the news on Twitter.
It’s not “presidential privilege,” it’s “executive privilege.” Even more consequential that Trump not knowing what the term is called is that he doesn’t know what it means or why it is used.
Executive privilege is meant to protect the public interest. For instance, if revealing private information would undermine foreign policy, the president has the right to keep that information private. Richard Nixon tried invoking it when it was revealed that tapes of conversations about Watergate existed. Since private conversations regarding policy were also discussed on those tapes, he insisted that he couldn’t be forced to turn them over. He was wrong.
What executive privilege does not do is allow a president to commit crimes and keep it from the public. Trump’s financial records, for instance, are not covered by executive privilege. Nor is the testimony of a man who described numerous instances of obstruction of justice to an investigator. No matter how many times Trump tries to convince his followers that “does not exonerate” really means “totally exonerates,” 10 separate felony crimes were listed as committed by Trump in the Mueller report.
Executive privilege is also not mentioned in the Constitution and is, in truth, a made up concept invoked by presidents who wish to keep information secret from the public. What is mentioned in the Constitution, however, is the duty of Congress to conduct oversight. Trump is ignoring the Constitution of the United States by ignoring the congressional efforts to do so.
Twitter was quick to remind Trump that only the completely blind are still buying the “no collusion, no obstruction” narrative. Read some of their comments below: