Donald Trump has never had attorney-client privilege with Don McGahn, because the former White House Counsel worked for the government, not Trump, and was therefore not Trump’s lawyer. Trump also long ago waived executive privilege with McGahn, for reasons no one seems to understand. Now that McGahn has thoroughly sold Trump out for his crimes in the Mueller report, and plans to do it again on live national television, Trump is suddenly trying to block McGahn from doing so.
As things stand, Donald Trump already has no legal grounds for preventing Don McGahn – who no longer works for the government – from publicly testifying before Congress. In fact the friendly subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee gives McGahn even more legal cover to reveal whatever he wants about Trump. But even if Trump did have any shot at convincing the courts to block McGahn’s testimony by trying to retroactively claim executive privilege, Trump just blew it today.
During an angry rant today, Donald Trump tweeted this: “I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so.” Here’s the thing. You can’t publicly reveal the details of a private exchange, and then turn around and claim that the other person in that exchange can’t reveal their own side of the story. With his tweet, Trump just unwittingly waived whatever might have been left of his executive privilege with McGahn.
There are times when Donald Trump’s Twitter rants, no matter how unhinged in nature, seem calculated to try to create a distraction or change the narrative. But there are plenty of times when Trump is simply out of control with his ranting, as evidenced by the damage he does to his own legal case, at a time when his entire life is about to become one big legal case. Trump’s thirst for vengeance just screwed him on this.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report