Now that the Department of Justice announced that President Trump is asserting executive privilege to protect redacted information in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and its underlying evidence, here is how the privilege works and how it has been used in the past.
Executive privilege allows the president to keep sensitive information away from other branches of the federal government if disclosure would interfere with the functions of the executive branch.
Executive privilege typically must be invoked in advance. In a letter to Congress, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote that President Trump was invoking it prior to a House Judiciary Committee vote on whether to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress.
Past members of the administration, including then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former senior adviser Steve Bannon, faced criticism from Congress for refusing to answer questions about their conversations with the president when executive privilege had not been invoked beforehand.
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