Category Archives: high crimes and misdemeanors

Avoid Bush’s Executive Privilege Claim By Investigating NSA Program As A Crime

From ThinkProgress: (video on their site as well)

Yesterday, after years of White House stonewalling, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the Bush administration for documents related to the warrantless domestic surveillance program.

Today, during a background discussion with reporters, senior Bush administration officials indicated that they would invoke executive privilege in order to deny the NSA documents to Congress, just as they did this morning concerning subpoenas related to the U.S. attorney scandal. “Our response to [the NSA] subpoenas will be the same as our response was before,” said an anonymous official.

But last night on MSNBC’s Countdown, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley claimed that Congress may be able to “get around the executive privilege in court” by saying “we are investigating a potential crime.” Turley said this was possible because warrantless wiretapping is “a federal crime” that “the president has ordered hundreds of people do.”

As Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf points out, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that, “where the President asserts only a generalized need for confidentiality, [executive privilege] must yield to the interests of the government and defendants in a criminal prosecution.”

Bush is invoking such “a generalized need for confidentiality,” according to a senior administration official this morning:

“This is not a mere exercise relating to a particular event. This is an exercise in an attempt to protect the prerogatives of the president for this president and for future presidents.”

When I saw this on Countdown the other night I thought it was a simply wonderful idea. I am glad that TP posted on it for those that might of missed the show and interview w/Professor Turley.

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