Donald Trump’s latest angry tweet has legally cost himself executive privilege with White House staff
Earlier this week Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to answer a number of questions about his conversations with Donald Trump, pointing to the possibility that Trump might end up deciding to invoke executive privilege. But based on an angry and surreal tweet which Trump posted this morning, he’s now cost himself executive privilege with everyone involved.
This morning Donald Trump tweeted “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt” (link). But by choosing to publicly discuss the private conversations he had with his administration about the firing of James Comey, he just legally waived executive privilege for those conversations whether he realized it or not. That’s not merely our view; it’s coming from a legal expert.
Congressman Ted Lieu, who has a legal degree and a history as an Air Force JAG prosecutor, posted the following in response to Trump’s tweets: “The more Donald Trump tweets, the less executive privilege the White House will be able to assert, if any by now.” Then he added “I agree with you Donald Trump. Please don’t stop tweeting about the witch hunt. Thank you for waiving executive privilege with your tweets.” Lieu also went on to point out that Trump “went on national TV & said he was firing Comey ‘regardless of recommendation’ because of Russia probe. We have it on tape.”
This means that, in legal terms, Donald Trump can not invoke executive privilege with regard to these conversations going forward. Thus his staffers will be legally required to discuss these conversations if and when they’re asked about it under oath, by Congress or by the Special Counsel. This is not the first time Trump has made this mistake; he also waived executive privilege with Comey himself by tweeting about their conversations. This allowed Comey to testify about it in public hearings. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report