June 4, 2017

ABC's legal analyst Dan Abrams told George Stephanopoulos that Trump would have a very weak argument to try to invoke executive privilege to stop James Comey from testifying next week.

When the announcement came that former FBI Director James Comey was going to testify to the Senate Intel Committee, arguments were floated by proxies that Trump could stifle his testimony by claiming executive privilege.

On ABC's This Week, Dan Abrams put those notions to bed.

Host George Stephanopoulos said that the "White House seems to be bowing to reality, according to Jon [Karl]'s reporting right there. Any claim of executive privilege here, very weak."

Abrams replied, "Very weak."

"Remember, the purpose of executive privilege is to protect confidential communications between the president and, typically, his cabinet," he said.

"He's got three problems here on this argument. Number one, the U.S. Supreme Court in the Nixon case made it clear that you can't use executive privilege to try to cover up alleged misconduct. There would be an argument here that was the reason for it"

"Number two is the argument of waiver, meaning it's no longer a confidential communication when the president tweets about it, talks about it in interviews, and as a result, you can't invoke that privilege anymore."

"Number three is that former FBI director James Comey is no longer an employee. If he were still working for the government, President Trump could instruct him not to testify. He could say, "I'm not allowing you to testify." He doesn't have that authority or power over James Comey anymore. As a result of those three reasons, it would be a really weak legal argument to try to invoke executive privilege."

Trump's disturbing actions have undermined any claim of executive privilege he had so in this case, his addiction to Twitter has cost him a useful tool to protect himself from himself.

And by trying to push Comey into dropping the Russian investigations and then firing him after he refused is as clear a reason as any that would have negated Trump's executive privilege as well.

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