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Noah Feldman

Executive Privilege Isn’t a Magic Wand to Protect Trump

The attorney general could have redacted parts of the Mueller report to protect presidential confidentiality. He didn’t, and now’s too late.

If I don’t look up, will it go away?

If I don’t look up, will it go away?

Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s administration invoked executive privilege Wednesday to explain why Attorney General William Barr won’t hand over special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report to Congress. There’s just one problem: Executive privilege has nothing whatsoever to do with the parts of the report that were redacted in its earlier release.

Executive privilege covers communications between the president and his closest aides on matters that must be kept from Congress or the courts to protect the effective operation of the executive branch.