The Trump White House is claiming that former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is under no obligation to cooperate with House Democrats in their probe of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and that she enjoys “absolute immunity.” But attorney Julian Epstein, former Democratic chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, stressed during an appearance on CNN on Wednesday that there is no such thing as “absolute immunity” where Hicks is concerned — and that Hicks, having likely waved executive privilege, might want to invoke the U.S. Constitution’s 5th Amendment to protect herself.
“Absolute immunity would be a claim by the White House that none of the staff or the president need to answer any questions in a congressional proceeding or a legal proceeding,” Epstein explained to CNN, quickly adding that when President Richard Nixon tried to claim absolute immunity during the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there was no such thing.
Epstein went on to say, “What there is there is executive privilege, but executive privilege is very, very narrow.” And Hicks, Epstein added, likely waived executive privilege when she spoke to Mueller’s office during the Russia investigation.
“Even if there was a legitimate legal claim on executive privilege,” Epstein asserted, “it does not extend to obstruction of justice or her role in potential illegal behavior.”
Epstein added that Hicks “may want to invoke the 5th Amendment because I think that she actually has some legal exposure going forward. I could see her invoking a privilege on self-incrimination. But executive privilege is not a serious claim. It’s kicking the can down the road. It’s a political maneuver by the White House.”
Not only does executive privilege probably not offer Hicks legal shelter, Epstein stressed, but also, Hicks isn’t protected by “absolute immunity” because such a thing —according to the U.S. Supreme Court — doesn’t really exist.
“What the White House is doing is invoking a blanket privilege that the courts have said does not exist,” Epstein told CNN. “They know it doesn’t exist.”
National Enquirer tried to protect Trump from allegation of forcibly raping 13-year-old girl: report
Two of the scandals swirling around President Donald appear to have collided in a blockbuster new book by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow.
Trump's relationship with American Media Incorporated (AMI), which owned the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid, has been under focus for a $150,000 hush money payment to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.
Trump has also faced ongoing scrutiny for his longtime friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.
The relationship between the two scandals was examined in the new book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators.
Republican stumbles as he tries to defend Trump’s claim that Iran can be trusted to fight ISIS
During an appearance on Fox News this Wednesday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) hit a snag while trying to justify President Trump's earlier contention that Russia and Iran would step in to fill the void left by the US after its withdrawal from northeast Syria, saying that "Russia, Iran, Syria and to maybe slightly lesser extent Turkey, they all hate ISIS as much as we do," during a Wednesday press conference alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Speaking to Biggs, Fox News host Harris Faulkner pointed out that Trump's willingness to partly cede Syria's future to Iran contradicts his and other conservatives' rhetoric towards the Islamic Republic.
Alan Dershowitz boots rival lawyer from sex abuse case
Alan Dershowitz continues to deny accusations that he had sex with an underage woman on Jeffrey Epstein's private island. Flight logs show Dershowitz regularly flew on Epstein's private plane, dubbed the Lolita Express.
Dershowitz' explanation for why the allegations continue to dog him despite his firm denies is that a lawyer for the woman accusing Dershowitz—Virginia Giuffre—is out to get him.
On Wednesday, a judge agreed to take David Boies, the high-profile lawyer, off the case, reports the Daily Beast.