Chris Wallace: Executive Privilege Doesn’t Necessarily Mean the President Is Involved, Could Mean a White House Aide Is Involved
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace joined Happening Now to break down the use of executive privilege.
“Clearly executive privilege is very unusual. It is not extraordinary … it was asserted six times in the Bush administration and most famously in 2007 when there was the big furor over the firing of US attorneys and a Congressional committee wanted Karl Rove, who had been involved in some of those discussions with the Justice Department to testify.”
He continued, “I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. They exerted executive privilege in that case, and would not let him testify. Karl said the key issue there was not that President Bush had been involved in these conversations, but that Karl Rove, as a non-confirmed member of the White House staff, was an extension of the president and to subpoena him to testify was in effect subpoenaing the president. So, this question of executive privilege does not necessarily mean that the president is involved. It can be White House aides who were involved … other people like that.
He said what surprised him was the fact that this was over Justice Department documents, not White House documents. The Cabinet officials, because they are subject to Senate confirmation, are not covered by executive privilege. They are in fact, as I say, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. The fact that they would assert executive privilege there raises the question certainly as to whether there were communications if not directly between Holder and the president, between the Justice Department and White House officials, and that some of these documents they’re seeking may have involved White House officials.”