Former Prosecutor: If White House Succeeds, All Trump’s Conversations Will Be Off Limits To Congress
A former federal prosecutor has told CNN that if the White House succeeds in limiting Corey Lewandowski’s testimony to Congress, it could make all conversations with President Trump off limits. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig told the New Day hosts that the administration could set a dangerous precedent.
Lewandowski is due to testify before Congress on Tuesday and the White House has instructed Lewandowksi to limit his testimony by claiming executive privilege. This is legally dubious as Lewandowski was not a government or White House employee. The White House has told Lewandowski not to testify beyond the remit of the Mueller Report.
“Now, let’s go back to the end here, the White House is saying that Corey Lewandowski can’t answer very many questions beyond that. What privilege on Earth exists that covers someone who doesn’t work in the White House?” co-host John Berman said.
“At this point they’re really just making it up, John,” Honig said. “The White House has already been hyper aggressive in asserting executive privilege. They’ve already taken the position that any conversation between the President and his advisers are covered by executive privilege.”
“I think that already goes too far. Executive privilege is fairly narrow as the Supreme Court has defined it, and now they’re going beyond that to Corey Lewandowski who’s a civilian. He’s never worked in government. He never worked for the Trump administration. He was a campaign staffer. If this stands up in court, and I do not think it will, then basically any conversation the President ever has is off limits to Congress. And that cannot be the case.”
“So what if Corey Lewandowski goes in this morning and refuses to answer questions?” co-host Alisyn Camerota asked.
“So then the ball is back in Jerry Nadler’s court,” Honig said. “I think what you do strategically is you ask Corey Lewandowski to answer whatever questions he’s willing to and they’ve said he’s willing to answer the stuff that’s in the Mueller Report, which is really important, and that’s the obstruction stuff. And then whatever he declines, ask him. Make him say I’m not answering in front of the cameras. Make him decline over and over so people can see how obstructionist this is. Then Nadler has to decide do I go to court and try to force him to come back and answer those? I think he needs to. Congress needs to take a stand here.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.