The doctrine of executive privilege has become a danger to democracy

By Ryan Cooper, The Week

Trump’s fight to keep his coup documents hidden is a case in point.

Former President Donald Trump was just about to experience a consequence Friday when federal courts once again stepped in to delay his day of reckoning.

The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 putsch has subpoenaed Trump administration records, and two different judges rejected his argument that the documents should be kept secret because of executive privilege. Then, on Thursday, Trump got a last-minute reprieve from the D.C. circuit court of appeals, which temporarily blocked the documents’ release.

One conclusion is clear: Presidential privilege is completely out of control.

Now, it’s uncertain as yet what will happen with Trump and the National Archives. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for November 30, which in the glacial American legal system apparently counts as nimble action. The arguments Trump’s legal team made are, of course, utterly preposterous: They say it would damage the presidency if Congress were to look at documents relating to the former president’s attempt to overturn the Constitution in a coup. This is beyond bad faith.


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