How Fox’s Judge Jeanine may have blown up Trump's executive privilege claims
According to Vanity Fair's Bess Levine, Donald Trump's ability to assert executive privilege to keep members of his inner circle from testifying before the House Jan 6th riot committee may have suffered a major blow due to the involvement of Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Following the day the committee issued subpoenas to Trump allies who were worked out of the Willard Hotel "command center" that was operating as a war room up the insurrection, Levine notes that the campaign paid for the rooms used --with an assist from Pirro.
Writing, "In arguing why various congressional subpoenas from the House committee investigating the insurrection should be ignored, Trump and his lawyers have asserted executive privilege, insisting, among other things, that it could hurt future officeholders if such information is released," Levine cited a report from the Washington Post that asserted Pirro's involvement may throw sand in the gears.
With Trump ally Bernie Kerik refusing to pay for the rooms over fears he might not get reimbursed by the Trump campaign, Pirro reportedly stepped in.
"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," the Post reported before adding, "The fact that campaign funds were used to finance efforts to subvert Biden's victory could complicate the former president's ongoing attempt to use claims of executive privilege to shield documents and testimony from the congressional committee investigating January 6, according to some legal scholars."
As Levine notes, attorney Richard Ben-Veniste, of Watergate fame, said Pirro's payments could prove problematic to Trump.
According to the report, Ben-Veniste explained, "the use of campaign funds 'further undermines a wildly broad assertion of executive privilege.… 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.'"
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