The House insurrection committee has painted Trump into a corner where the courts won't save him: legal expert
President Trump. (AFP)

In a column for CNN, one of the legal counsels who worked on Donald Trump's second impeachment praised the work so far done by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6th insurrection that led to lawmakers from both sides of the aisle fleeing for their lives.

According to Norm Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama's ethics czar, the move by the committee to get phone records from lawmakers and members of the Trump's family is evidence of a "classic investigative technique" and the former president has few legal avenues to stop them.

Previously, when he was still president, Trump invoked executive privilege to keep his inner circle from testifying during his two impeachment trials. Now that he is out of office, he can attempt to invoke it again but recent rulings by the courts in matters involving Trump and secrecy have not gone in his favor.

Eisen noted that the Justice Department under President Joe Biden and his Attorney General Merrick Garland have already declared that executive privilege no longer applies and that officials called before the committee can be expected to comply.

"The administration has waived executive privilege and allowed former Trump administration officials to provide testimony to Congress about the ex-president's attacks on the 2020 election and its certification," Eisen wrote before adding, "The US Department of Justice correctly reasoned that the 'extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances ... [and] the congressional need for information outweighs the Executive Branch's interest in maintaining confidentiality.'"

Writing, "If Trump tests the committee in court, he will find that the law of executive privilege is not in his favor," the attorney explained, "So, Trump could go to court and seek an injunction, arguing that he's the owner of the privilege. But the tenor of the law makes it likely that he would lose -- which may be why Trump did not attempt to stop those former officials from testifying in the first place."

The House insurrection committee has painted Trump into a corner where the courts won't save

The problem for the former president is that the one person who could help him out would be President Joe Biden -- an unlikely occurrence.

"The general rule is that the privilege belongs to the nation, not to any former incumbent -- and the Biden administration has already demonstrated its inclination to waive," Eisen contended. "Together with the demands we learned about earlier this week for phone and other records from telecom and social media companies, all of that makes it likely that the truth will be uncovered. Private companies are not going to fool around either."

"A common investigative adage is 'follow the money.' Here, Congress should follow Trump's lies, especially the big lie that the election was stolen. The 1/6 committee is off to a good start doing just that, and there is ultimately little that Trump will be able to do to stop it," he concluded.

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