How far does Trump’s executive privilege extend?

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | After both the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, and the recent raid of former President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home, questions of executive privilege are at the forefront.

Mia Lubrani | Staff Writer

Sept. 1, 2022

It is no secret that just about everyone is tired of hearing about former President Trump and the drama surrounding him. Even though he has been out of office for two years, he is still commanding the headlines. The Trump “drama” has been an ongoing issue since the Jan. 6, 2021, riots.

This newest continuation of relevance is due to the fact that a violation of national security may have occurred. This should be dealt with in the fastest manner possible.

During most of his presidency, people debated over impeachments and morality. The United States government finally had enough to make a case against Trump after the riots and even more after the recent Mar-A-Lago incident.

On Jan. 6, 2021, there was an attack on the U.S. Capitol. A mob of Trump’s supporters decided to violently break into the Capitol building in order to impact the certification of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.

Earlier that day, Trump also declared election fraud and called upon Vice President Mike Pence to further delay the certification process.

Some argue that this is a random occurrence of a group of people attempting to protect elections.

Trump is under severe criticism for inciting his followers to unite and take over a government building. Before the rally in Washington turned into a riot, Trump told his followers, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol” and that “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or their committees. I believe that Trump displayed contempt for his government by trying to undermine the authority of the United States and the right to a free and fair election.

During that January, Trump also transferred at least 15 boxes of top-secret files that included sensitive and compartmentalized information and special access programs to Mar-A-Lago. Some of these programs or cases are matters of national security that have been ongoing for decades. The former president did not return the boxes.

His legal team told the National Archives and Records Association (NARA) to wait until the documents had been determined “subject to privilege” and let the former president decide if he wanted to claim “a protective assertion of executive privilege made by counsel for the former president.” The documents were secured a month later when the boxes were finally transferred back in January 2022.

Since then, it has been debated if Trump has the privilege to still assert these claims, especially without the support of the current president.

Executive privilege has been a central part of the discussion when it comes to Trump’s actions. According to the Cornell Law School, executive privilege is defined as “the power of the president and other officials in the executive branch to withhold certain forms of confidential communication from the courts and the legislative branch.” Presidents often invoke this privilege because it would be in the best interest of the public to not speak about confidential information.

Precedent from a former president helps decide what is best for the citizen before enacting such privilege. There is a general consensus that many Americans want to see justice for the riots, consequences for election interference and a basic respect restored to the nation.

As a country that values honesty and equality, we can only hope the former president faces some consequences for inciting a riot and prolonging governmental affairs.

No man is above the law.