Former White House counsel John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate scandal, said Wednesday on CNN that there was a serious flaw in the attempt to prevent longtime Trump confidant Hope Hicks from testifying to Congress.
White House lawyers have asserted that Hicks has absolute immunity and is not legally required to testify about her time as Trump’s director of communications. Hicks testified Wednesday during a closed-door hearing before the House Judiciary Committee — where she reportedly refused to answer questions about her White House job.
“Privilege is not being asserted here. Instead, the White House says that Hicks has absolute immunity regarding the time that she spent at 1600 Pennsylvania. Does absolute immunity even exist? And if so, can you explain to me the difference between the two?” CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Dean.
“There is no such thing as absolute immunity for anybody to appear before Congress,” he replied. “When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Nixon case, they absolutely said that there was no absolute privilege, rather it had to be weighed in each instance as to the needs for those who are asking for the information and the person who’s resisting giving the information.”
“Absolute privileges are very rare in the law. And they’re always this balancing process. This total immunity is part of the so-called executive theory of unitary executive theory that will theoretically make the person immune to Congress. And that just doesn’t play in our system.”
“What about, let’s keep this in mind that Hope Hicks, unlike so many current and former White House aides, she has testified before Congress, she did speak with Mueller, she has turned over documents. So what do you make of that?” Baldwin asked.
“I understand she didn’t give very much testimony when she appeared and she claimed some sort of privilege then as well. So we don’t have that transcript either,” Dean said.
“But the fact that she went to Mueller — the grand jury has really established its ability to pierce presidential privilege. That happened in U.S. versus Nixon. But the court spoke in broader terms generally. While we’ve never had a case directly resolving the powers of Congress versus the power of the president over information, I think that’s where Trump wants to go. He wants to stall as long as he can. There’s nothing — this is just clearly, as many members of Congress are calling it, a cover up we’re watching.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper exposes Trump’s lies on COVID deaths: He ‘doesn’t want you to know the whole story’
On CNN Tuesday, anchor Anderson Cooper laid into President Donald Trump for his false narratives about the coronavirus pandemic.
"New modeling from the University of Washington today forecasts 208,000 people in this country may be dead of COVID-19 by Election Day," said Cooper. "Which the president still does not seem to think is all that bad. Because he is still repeating the same falsehoods as ever about testing and mortality, which fell for a while, but is once again sadly, sickeningly, ticking up."
"We have more cases because we're doing more testing," said Trump in the clip. "We have more cases. If we did half the testing, we'd have far fewer cases but people don't view it that way. What they have to view, though, is if you look at the chart, and maybe Mike has it, but we looked at it before, if you look at the chart of deaths, deaths are way down. What we want to do is get our schools open. We want to get them open quickly, beautifully in the fall."
Trump’s record as one of the ‘dumbest students’ in college makes cheating story credible: Trump biographer
On Tuesday, Trump biographer David Cay Johnston discussed the allegation from Mary Trump's book that the president paid for someone to take his SAT — an accusation he denies vehemently.
"He claims he was a top student, best of the best. What do you make of this, David?" asked host Erin Burnett.
"The story makes perfect sense," said Johnston. "First of all, back in the 1960s, it was easy to have someone go and take your test for you. There weren't IDs and the checks we have today because of the kind of cheating. The idea that a rich boy paid someone else to take the test, to people of my generation, is no surprise. Trump claims he was a great student, yet one of his former professor described him as the 'blank blank dumbest student he's ever had,' but thinks he knows everything. There were no honors for Trump at Fordham or Penn."
Trump’s fans had a choice: They could reject his toxic nonsense or completely lose it. They chose B
The problem with Kanye or other political hobbyists running for president is that it further erodes the already threadbare integrity of our presidential politics, making it increasingly acceptable for other famous-for-being-famous nincompoops to run, and perhaps win. The last four years have illustrated how profoundly dangerous that can be.