Former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig this week admitted he was stunned by President Donald Trump’s justification for blocking the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn — and he called the legal rationale behind it “nuts.”
“The White House previously invoked executive privilege in an effort to prevent McGahn from producing documents to Congress,” he writes. “Now the White House — perhaps recognizing that its executive privilege invocation would likely fail on the legal merits — has changed tack and instead made an even broader claim that Congress cannot ever compel testimony from a senior adviser to the President. This is nuts.”
Honig was even more shocked that the White House is backing up its assertions of vast executive powers with an Office of Legal Counsel memo that “cites not a single court decision to support this novel proposition.”
Honig then warns of the dire consequences for democracy if the president is allowed to get away with stiff arming Congress like this.
“The White House’s position further threatens the balance of powers between the White House and Congress,” he concludes. “If Trump gets his way on this, then the congressional power to conduct oversight is all but doomed.”