President Donald Trump and his team are preparing for a showdown with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and possibly Congress as well. Trump’s team intends to fight to keep all or part of Mueller’s report secret from the public and they’ve already made moves in that direction.
The new White House Counsel Pat Cipolone has put together a team of 17 new lawyers, according to CNN. It is believed that the President’s lawyers will argue that the report should be kept private because conversations between the President and his advisers are protected by executive privilege.
Those close to Trump have been suggesting for some time that they will resist making the report public. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has claimed the report will not be made public, but whether the White House has the power to prevent this is an open question.
If Trump chooses to claim executive privilege, who could find himself challenged in the courts. Richard Nixon made a similar claim in an effort to keep the White House tapes a secret. The Supreme Court unanimously against Nixon and the contents of the tapes contributed to his downfall.
There is no indication yet of when Mueller will issue his final report, but it is expected to be devastating to the President. Even Giuliani has acknowledged that the report will be very bad for Trump, despite his spirited public defense of his client.
The newly Democrat House would react with fury to any attempt to suppress the report, and many moderate Republicans in both chambers of Congress could side with the Democrats on the issue. There is no guarantee that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court will rule in Trump’s favor. A court case on the issue would be monumental in modern history. Two current justices owe their position to Trump, but in recent months lower court judges appointed by Trump have been ruling against the administration.