Earlier this month, Donald Trump announced that White House lawyer Emmet Flood was resigning. No reason was given, but Palmer Report pointed out that the timing couldn’t have been any more suspicious. Flood is an expert on executive privilege, but he was suddenly making his exit just as Trump was gearing up to fight the executive privilege battles that Flood was supposed to lead. Now things have become more clear.
Donald Trump and his Department of Justice informed Congress today that they’re going to try to invoke executive privilege over subpoenaed documents related to Trump’s census scandal. To be clear, this is not a questionable exertion of executive privilege – it’s a laugh out loud nonsensical gibberish exertion of executive privilege. It’s like trying to get out of a speeding ticket by claiming you have international diplomatic immunity when you’re clearly just some random doofus. It’s not going to succeed, but it may succeed in getting the officer to roll his eyes.
This move has zero chance of holding up in court, and it serves no purpose other than to be obnoxious. Back when Emmet Flood was working for then-President Bill Clinton, he tried to incrementally expand the definition of executive privilege in a manner that was – how can we put this – legally questionable but not rubber room bonkers. When Flood signed on with the Trump White House, there’s no way he was signing up for this kind of crap.
So it all makes sense now. Back when Donald Trump convinced Emmet Flood to join the team, the strategy was to expand executive privilege in the kind of realistic manner that might succeed. That strategy has since gone out the window – presumably because Trump’s scandals are so cascading, there’s no legitimate way to hide them behind privilege – and now it’s just a pie throwing contest. No wonder Flood bailed when he did.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report