Oops! This News May Blow Up Trump's Executive Privilege Claim

Oops! This News May Blow Up Trump's Executive Privilege Claim

The Washington Post reports today that the Trump campaign reimbursed Bernie Kerik and Rudy Giuliani for the hotel rooms they set up as command center for their efforts to get Pence to refuse to certify election results — and that’s a big problem for Trump’s claims of executive privilege:

The bills went unpaid until after Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro went to bat on their behalf, according to a Republican official, who like some others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Soon after, the campaign cut Kerik a check — with Trump’s approval, according to a former senior campaign official.

That move, in mid-December, smoothed the way for what would eventually be more than $225,000 in campaign payments to firms owned by Kerik and Giuliani — including more than $50,000 for rooms and suites at the posh Willard hotel in Washington that served as a “command center” for efforts to deny Biden the presidency in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Oh dear.

Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, told the Post the use of campaign funds “further undermines a wildly broad assertion of executive privilege” by Trump. “Executive privilege is typically limited to the protection of communications involving a president’s official duties — not to those relating to personal or political campaign matters,” he said.

John Yoo, author of the infamous “torture memo,” told the Post, “If he acts as a president, he gets these things we talk about — executive privilege and immunity. But if he’s acting as a candidate, he’s deprived of all of those protections.”

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