In what should come as no surprise, the Guardian reported that Donald Trump is preparing to sue to block the release of White House records relating to his known involvement in the January 6 insurrection. “Known” because we all know he was directly responsible for this event, and it is likely some of those documents will show how involved he was before, during, and after. After, however, is when he washed his hands of everything and sat on his throne, watching Rome burn much like Nero. Trump is no emperor, and his reach for executive privilege is unlikely to benefit him.
How Trump plans to fight these subpoenas is a mystery. Executive privilege may not necessarily help him. According to Cornell Law School, executive privilege gives a president the power to withhold confidential communications from the courts and the legislative branch. Neil Eggleston, former White House counsel to President Obama, said that executive privilege is a “qualified” privilege as opposed to an “absolute” privilege.
What does that mean? Eggleston used the case involving Richard Nixon to explain. While the justices agreed that presidents need to be able to seek advice and counsel and have that remain confidential, they held that “in circumstances of a demonstrated need,” executive privilege did not apply. They, therefore, set precedence in how executive privilege can be breached for the good for the country. Considering that many of Trump’s activities bordered on criminal behavior, it is highly unlikely that his claims of executive privilege will prevail in a court of law. His only other option, according to Eggleston, is to sue whoever oversees the National Archives.
What might help Trump is support from the sitting president, which we know is not going to happen. In fact, Yahoo News posted an article a few days ago, indicating that Biden has no interest in supporting executive privilege for Trump. In a press conference, Jen Psaki said: “The president has already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege” on Trump’s behalf. Norm Eisen, who was an ethics lawyer under President Obama, told the news: “There’s a reason that it’s called executive privilege: because it belongs to the executive branch. The last time I checked, Joe Biden was in charge of that branch, not Donald Trump.” In fact, many experts believe that Trump would have to request Biden’s help, which is certainly not forthcoming.
As usual, Trump has no leg to stand on, so he resorts to what he does best: Protracted litigation. It will be interesting to see if any lawyers take him up on this, given his record of nonpayment and abandonment. If Trump is suffering from any delusions that he has the right to demand anything of the current administration, he is sadly mistaken. He has repeatedly denigrated and mocked President Biden, much like a bully in a sandbox. Now, he thinks Biden should come to his rescue. Good luck with that. It is high time that someone allowed Trump to suffer the consequences of his unacceptable behavior. Now is a good time.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years