Legal expert shreds Trump's executive privilege claims: 'You can't tell your lawyer you're going to commit a crime'
As a House select committee investigates the Capitol insurrection, former president Donald Trump's attorneys are widely expected to argue in court that "executive privilege" prevents administration officials from testifying and documents from being turned over.
However, one former high-ranking federal prosecutor said Friday he believes judges will ultimately reject many of Trump's "executive privilege" claims.
Elliot Williams, a CNN legal analyst who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice, explained that presidents should enjoy executive privilege, so they can have candid conversations with advisers without being sued or subpoenaed every time.
However, Williams said Trump faces two major obstacles when it comes to arguing executive privilege in response to subpoenas from the House select committee investigating the insurrection.
"The problem here for president Trump is that, No. 1, a lot of these communications were in the capacity of him as candidate Trump, not president Trump, and those just aren't going to be protected communications," Williams said. "And No. 2, it can't be a shield for wrongdoing. You can't tell your lawyer you're going to commit a crime, and then say that those are privileged communications. It's the same thing here. He can't have had conversations that teed up wrongdoing, and then claim that he's hiding behind a privilege. So he can make the argument — it's going to be really tricky — because it's hard legally to separate the man from the candidate from the president, but that's going to happen in the courts over the next couple of weeks."
Elliot Williams on Trump's 'executive privelege' www.youtube.com
Sales of new homes rose faster than analysts expected last month in the United States, according to government data released Friday, though prices remained high and supply was still tight.
The Commerce Department reported sales rose 1.5 percent from July's upwardly revised rate to a seasonally adjusted pace of 740,000, annualized, its second consecutive monthly increase.
The housing sector has been a popular place despite the overall economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as cheap mortgage rates and the disruptions caused by the virus spurred people to shop for homes.
Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said the two months of gains indicate the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus could again be pushing people into the market.
"We think the upturn in mortgage demand has been triggered by the Delta Covid wave, in an echo of the surge in demand for suburban homes following the initial Covid shock," he wrote in an analysis.
"The increase in demand this time will be much smaller, and we expect it to flatten again later in the fall as Delta fear recedes."
The trend over the past year and a half caused a tightening of supply and concurrent increase in prices, which the data said improved little last month.
Supply in August was at a seasonally adjusted 6.1-month pace at the current rate of sales, a notch higher than in July. Median home prices remained unchanged from that month at $390,900, but well above the $325,500 median in August 2020.
Donald Trump continues to insist the 2020 election was stolen from him, even after a draft report from the Arizona "forensic audit" shows, once again, he was beaten by Joe Biden.
The Republican-led state Arizona Senate ordered the audit that has been plagued with irregularities and credibility issues from the start, and draft reports that circulated Thursday evening showed fewer votes for Trump and even more for Biden than previously counted -- but that didn't stop the twice-impeached one-term president from claiming vindication.
"Huge findings in Arizona!" Trump announced through a spokeswoman, since he's still banned from Twitter for spreading election lies. "However, the Fake News Media is already trying to 'call it' again for Biden before actually looking at the facts — just like they did in November! The audit has uncovered significant and undeniable evidence of FRAUD!"
"Until we know how and why this happened, our Elections will never be secure," he added. "This is a major criminal event and should be investigated by the Attorney General immediately."
The final report will be released Friday afternoon, and Trump cited unsubstantiated rumors to support his claims
"I have heard it is far different than that being reported by the Fake News Media," he said.
Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Raw Story Investigates and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.
$95 / year — Just $7.91/month
I want to Support More
$14.99 per month