This story via the New York Times is… this is one of those times when you have to take the long view, perhaps. “The White House will try to block the release of a handful of emails between President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, citing longstanding precedent invoked by presidents of both parties to keep presidential communications confidential, officials said Friday.” See, the problem here is that the White House has a point: Presidents from both parties have indeed long taken the position (I think, fairly) that they should be able to get unvarnished opinions from their advisers without having to worry about whether it’d be used for partisan purposes. After all, as the New York Times goes on to note:
President Bush has said that Karl Rove, his closest adviser, and Harriet Miers, his former White House counsel, among others, do not have to comply with Congressional subpoenas because “the president relies upon his staff to give him candid advice.”
This may well end up in a constitutional showdown. If it does, there is no question about which side should prevail. Congress has a right, and an obligation, to examine all of the evidence, which increasingly suggests that the Bush administration fired eight or more federal prosecutors either because they were investigating Republicans, or refusing to bring baseless charges against Democrats. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Watergate tapes case, and other legal and historical precedents, make it clear that executive privilege should not keep Congress from getting the testimony it needs.
…Oops. Sorry, that was what the New York Times argued in an ‘editorial’ in 2007. My bad. This is what the NYT says now: Continue reading The New York Times vs. The New York Times on Presidential Prerogatives.
Via Ed Driscoll comes something I hadn’t considered: Susan Rice as National Security Advisor means that Barack Obama thinks that he can claim executive privilege to keep her from testifying.
A Google News search on [“Susan Rice” “executive privilege”] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returns two stories. The main one is at Fox News, where K.T. McFarland pointed out that President Obama, now that he has appointed Susan Rice to be his National Security Adviser, can invoke executive privilege to keep her from testifying before Congress. The second is at Mediate, and notes that McFarland said the same thing to Fox News Channel anchor Martha MacCallum earlier today.
So I think that we have established here that the President is hiding something about Benghazi; we’re now just trying to figure out what Barack Obama is hiding*.
Continue reading Barack Obama unilaterally tries to recuse Susan Rice from #Benghazi testimony.
As in, Obama needs to stay on his side of the line drawn by it:
Byrd: Obama in power grab
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.
In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”
While it’s rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House.
Not to mention a former Klansman, but the netroots have never cared about that before; why should they start now? Continue reading Byrd vs. Obama on the Constitution.