Former Bush Administration official decries Trump’s ‘blanket’ denial of congressional subpoenas as ‘unprecedented’

Former Bush Administration official decries Trump’s ‘blanket’ denial of congressional subpoenas as ‘unprecedented’
William Barr/Screengrab
William Barr/Screengrab

The clash between Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Trump Administration escalated on Wednesday, with the House Judiciary Committee , which is chaired by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler,  voting to advance a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over an unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation and ignoring other congressional subpoenas. President Donald Trump has been asserting executive privilege, refusing to comply with subpoenas and insisting that Mueller should testify before Congress. And Republican attorney John Yoo, who served in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under President George W. Bush and is now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is speaking out — declaring that Trump’s actions could be “unprecedented.”

“The thing that’s unusual is the blanket refusal,” the 51-year-old Yoo told the New York Times. “It would be extraordinary if the president actually were to try to stop all congressional testimony on subpoenaed issues. That would actually be unprecedented if it were a complete ban.”

U.S. presidents can make executive privilege assertions and decline to share documents with members of Congress if they believe that security or safety matters are involved; however, executive privilege assertions are by no means written in stone and can be challenged or struck down in the courts.

Yoo is the author of the so-called Torture Memos — which addressed methods of torture such as waterboarding under Bush’s presidency.

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