Barr Says ‘We Haven’t Waived Executive Privilege’ As If He’s Trump’s Lawyer

Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, 2019. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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May 1, 2019 11:55 a.m.

In an odd turn of phrase Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr said “we haven’t waived executive privilege” while speaking about former White House Counsel Don McGahn testifying before Congress.

No matter what Trump thinks, it is not the attorney general’s job to protect the president — Trump has a whole staff of his own lawyers for that.

As to the idea that Trump could extend executive privilege over the testimony of McGahn, now a private citizen, that’s a trickier matter. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has been threatening this week that the President could claim privilege to block McGahn, a star witness in the redacted Mueller report, from releasing damaging information before the House Judiciary Committee.

It’s not entirely clear who would win the privilege battle, but here’s a good Washington Post rundown. In sum, the President’s case seems to be weakened by virtue of the fact that the House Democrats would be questioning him on his testimony to Mueller’s team, which the White House already allowed him to do (and thus is inherently un-privileged).

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