Witnesses of the White House claim that the privilege of the executive is to keep parts of Mueller's report from the public
The White House can claim the right of executive power to share parts of Robert Mueller's opinion with the public and with the Democrats in Congress, as was announced on Monday.
But such a move would probably provoke a legal battle that would go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Mueller would be in the final stages of his investigation into the Russian role in the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump's campaign was conspiring with Moscow, a denunciation repeatedly denied by the President.
President Trump could claim the executive privilege to prevent part of the Russia investigation from becoming public
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is supposed to be in the final phase of his research and could pass on his report to the Ministry of Justice as soon as February
But as soon as he presents his findings to the Ministry of Justice – which could already happen in February – it could become complicated.
Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, will demand that the report be transferred and probably use their summons to make it happen.
But the White House could contradict their question by appealing to the executive's privilege, Bloomberg News reported.
Trump and his legal team expect to get an advanced look at the findings.
They can use the privilege of executives to stop all information relating to Trump's time in the White House or during the transition as soon as they see what is in the report.
"We will look into it and see if the president thinks there is a valid claim and if that is the case, we want to get it out," Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Bloomberg News. & # 39; We reserve the right. We do not know if we have to, but we have not abandoned it. & # 39;
Giuliani said that they would be willing to fight in court to preserve material that they consider to be privileged.
Mueller only needs to submit his report to the Justice Department. His supervisor there – who is currently acting Attorney General Matt Whittaker – decides what to do with it.
If William Barr, Trump's proxy for the Attorney General, is confirmed by the time that Mueller submits his report, Barr would decide on it.
But Democrats have a counter-movement: they could call on him to testify before Congress and simply ask what is in his report at a public hearing.
Trump can not stop Mueller from attending the conference and talking about everything in his report, & # 39; John Dean, a former Richard Nixon advisor, told Bloomberg.
The White House voluntarily handed over tens of thousands of pages to the Mueller team and believes – by avoiding a summons – it gives them the opportunity to later defend the executive privilege to argue that the information is not outside the executive power. should be shared.
In 1974 the Supreme Court addressed the problem of executive privilege in the case of the United States against Nixon.
The case dealt with a request from the special prosecutor of Watergate, Archibald Cox, that President Richard Nixon produced the audio tapes of conversations he and his colleagues had had in the Oval Office.
Nixon appealed to the privilege and refused to produce the tires.
& # 39; We reserve the right. We do not know if we have to, but we have not abandoned it, "said Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, about the privilege of executive power.
House Democratic President, like Adam Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee, could sue Mueller's report or summon him to testify before Congress
The Supreme Court did not condemn the claim of privilege, but decided that the greater public interest in obtaining the truth preceded and ordered Nixon to deliver them.
Other presidents have also used it.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton became the first president since Nixon lost the case during the trial, when a federal judge ruled that Clinton assistants could be called to testify in the scandal of Monica Lewinsky.
President George W. Bush called executive privilege to refuse to unveil the meetings of Vice President Dick Cheney with energy executives, which was not challenged in court.
He also used it to prevent Karl Rove from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe about fired federal prosecutors.
President Barack Obama used it to withhold certain documents in connection with the Operation Fast and Furious gun walking controversy.
Former White House adviser John Dean told Bloomberg News that executive privileges are a successful "faltering tactic & # 39; might be that it could "bind" a few years in the lower courts & # 39 ;.
That could ensure that the report is not made public before the presidential elections in 2020.
But there are other reasons besides the executive privilege that can keep parts of Mueller's report from seeing the light of day.
American intelligence services are likely to want to edit material related to classified cases.
In addition, Mueller and Justice lawyers are required to withhold information relating to grand jury procedures or ongoing law enforcement operations.