If executive privilege can properly be used, the next question is how far down the executive line the privilege extends. Courts have ruled that the privilege applies to presidential advisers in the course of preparing advice for presidential decision-making. This involves communications authored, solicited or received by members of a White House adviser’s staff who has significant responsibility for investigating and formulating the advice to be given to the president.
Based on all the allegations Congress is investigating against the administration, they can proceed far more quickly and efficiently. Congress has the power to force the issues and the administration cannot use executive privilege to avoid disclosing the requested documents or providing witness testimony. It’s time for Congress to move past blind party loyalties and do what is best for us.
Right or wrong, many skeptics argue that attempted use of executive privilege is often to try to conceal wrongdoing or politically embarrassing information. Amid discussions concerning executive privilege, the topic of pardoning frequently follows. Our Constitution gives the president the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States. In interpreting this part of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled that the pardon power “extends to every offense known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment.” The only exception is that “a pardon does not extend to cases of Congressional impeachment.” Other than that, the president can pardon anyone, and does not have to answer to Congress nor the courts before approving these pardons. This power arguably includes the ability to pardon himself; however, this issue has never been argued before the courts.
As is typical with the current administration, there is a lot more to come.
Manubir “Manny”Arora is an Atlanta defense attorney, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and a former assistant district attorney in Fulton County.