Durbin Raises Question of Executive Privilege In Impeachment Trial
WASHINGTON—During the question and answer portion of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today asked the House managers a question regarding the President’s threats to invoke executive privilege during the impeachment proceedings. The President has not yet actually invoked executive privilege during the impeachment inquiry or trial, instead claiming that the Administration’s blanket refusal to comply with House subpoenas was justified under a theory of absolute immunity that has been rejected in the courts.
Durbin’s question asked the following: “If President Trump were to actually invoke executive privilege in this proceeding, wouldn’t he be required to identify the specific documents or communications containing sensitive material that he seeks to protect?”
House manager Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10) responded to Durbin’s question, stating “…executive privilege is a very limited privilege that must be claimed by the President. He has at no time claimed executive privilege. Rather, he has claimed absolute immunity, the nonexistent concept that every Court that has ever considered it has rejected. Instead, he has simply said we will oppose all subpoenas, we will deny to the House all information, all information – whatever they want, they can’t have.”
Video of Durbin’s question and corresponding response on the Senate floor is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s question and corresponding response on the Senate floor is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s question and corresponding response on the Senate floor is available here for TV stations.
In response to a question by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Wednesday in regards to invoking executive privilege, House manager Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08) stated, “…as I know you are all aware, it is often the case in congressional investigations that a president will claim executive privilege over a very small subset of materials. In that case, what the Executive Branch usually does and should do is to produce everything that it can and then provide a log of documents in dispute or permit a private review of the documents that have been contested. That’s not what has occurred in this case because the President has ordered the entire Executive Branch to defy our constitutionally inspired impeachment inquiry. A blanket defiance is what has taken place.”
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