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Former FBI agent explains why executive privilege can’t save Trump from congressional investigations

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On Thursday, following reports that President Donald Trump will claim executive privilege to prevent former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying to Congress about the attempt to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, CNN’s Chris Cuomo held a discussion on whether blocking McGahn’s testimony constitutes valid executive power.

Former Trump White House lawyer Jim Schultz told Cuomo that it does, noting that courts have often given deference to presidents on the matter. But former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa strongly disagreed.

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“Chris, the executive privilege is a limited privilege to protect deliberations, policy deliberations, things concerning national security, that are purely outside of the purview of Congress. It’s a separation of powers issue,” said Rangappa.

“When you are talking about obstruction of justice, in which Congress has an interest in protecting, then that privilege no longer is something that belongs exclusively to some executive branch function. It’s potentially concealing evidence of a crime,” Rangappa continued. “And we know from U.S. v. Nixon that the privilege then doesn’t hold, and I think it would not hold even in the case where it is Congress that has oversight because of the specific fact that Congress has an interest in uncovering acts of obstruction.”

“I think that you are right that he has waived the privilege already, and I think a third thing here is that the White House has no leverage over McGahn,” continued Rangappa. “If he actually wants to voluntarily come in and testify, there’s pretty much nothing that the president can do. So I think that this is an uphill battle for the president.”

“And just to add, the president is equating — if he is saying he has already talked to Mueller, so now, you know, Congress doesn’t need him to do more, then he’s basically conceding that Congress is entitled to see all of the 302s which McGahn provided to the FBI,” Rangappa said. “If they’re equivalent, then that should just be handed over if McGahn isn’t going to testify.”

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Trump is ‘asleep at the switch’ in his bunker while America needs a unifying voice: CNN’s Keith Boykin

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On CNN Monday, former Bill Clinton staffer and CNN commentator Keith Boykin laid out the extent of President Donald Trump's failure in a moment of national crisis.

"Keith, do you feel this time at all may be different as far as a real outcome?" asked anchor Brooke Baldwin.

"I definitely feel this is different," said Boykin. "Think about the conditions that we're in right now. We have 41 million people who don't have jobs. You have 100,000 people who have died from the coronavirus pandemic, disproportionally black and brown people, and people outraged about the shooting and killing and murders of black men and women and the George Floyd incident and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, where people have no place to go, nothing to do. No school or jobs to go to. No distractions. It is not like the typical protest in the past that could go back to work or class. They could spend all summer just being upset unless there is a substantive change."

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CNN

Trump is ‘capable of reading’ a unifying message — but it’s doubtful he’ll mean it: Atlanta mayor

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday expressed little confidence that President Donald Trump could unify the nation at a time when the United States faces a triple threat of a recession, a pandemic, and civil unrest.

During an interview on CNN, host Alisyn Camerota asked Bottoms about actions Trump could possibly take to calm nerves and bring the country together.

"What about the debate that we are told is going on in the White House, as to whether or not the president should at this moment make some sort of national statement and call for unity?" she asked. "Would you like to see that?"

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CNN

Racist cops, COVID-19 and unemployment are sending black Americans into ‘despair’: Charles Blow

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The multiple crises hitting the United States at the moment are hitting the black community particularly hard, and New York Times columnist Charles Blow said on Monday that it's sending people into deep despair.

While appearing on CNN, Blow said that the nationwide protests that have erupted in the wake of George Floyd's killing last week were about much more than the death of just one man.

"You add on top of that all the other conditions, which you spoke before, about this happening in the middle of a pandemic," he said. "Everybody's at home. 40 million people have filed for unemployment. They don't know where their next check is coming from... The idea that [unemployment] is disproportionately affecting black people, that COVID is disproportionately affecting black people that, police brutality is disproportionately affecting black people, it's all part of the despair."

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