Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked “House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack” has been issuing subpoenas to further its hearings and the conclusions that could probably have been written before the committee was even selected. The committee’s list of persons to produce documents and testimony is Steve Bannon, former advisor to President Donald Trump.
Some of the persons subpoenaed by the committee have complied. However, President Trump has stated that much of the material and testimony sought are covered by executive privilege and may not be disclosed to Congress. Bannon has written to the committee about Trump’s claim of ownership, stating that he could be available to testify if the federal courts determine that his testimony is permitted in light of the claim.
The tactic being urged upon the Biden administration could backfire on Democrats. Suppose Pelosi’s committee successfully obtains privileged information by having a current president waive privilege claimed by a former president. In that case, any future Republican president could return the favor as to any claims by Biden or his successors to executive privilege.
Even the corporate media is concerned about the fight over the subpoena. The Associated Press said that the committee’s move “could come back to haunt” Biden and other presidents in the future.
Biden has so far agreed with the committee’s demands to obtain “sensitive information” about Trump and his administration. The dispute about the power to waive the claim to executive privilege is almost certainly bound for federal court. Previous rulings about executive privilege have found that former presidents are granted executive privilege in certain situations.
If a waiver claim by Pelosi’s committee is successful in court, it could be adverse to both Trump and Biden.
The AP report stated that “if history is any guide,” future presidents and congresses will take a ruling against Trump as far “as politics warrant.”
The short-sighted approach by Democrats is nothing new. In 2012 they got rid of the Senate filibuster rule for approval of all presidential appointments except for Supreme Court nominations. Republicans later dropped the filibuster rule even for Supreme Court nominations, sending Democrats into a rage.