Letters Show How WH Tried To Limit Former Aide’s Testimony

The White House tried to limit ex-Russia adviser Fiona Hill’s testimony to House investigators by claiming some topics could be subject to executive privilege, according to letters obtained by NBC News.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1255794

Can you say “obstruction of justice?”


When Hill’s lawyers pushed back, White House Deputy Counsel Michael Purpura replied, “As the White House Counsel has explained, there is no valid impeachment inquiry underway.

Ah, the “LALALALALALA CAN’T HEAR YOU (with fingers stuck in ears)” defense. Sophisticated!


Did the Suckretarry of State weigh in yet ?


Correct me if I am wrong, but executive privilege does NOT apply when the executive is committing crime(s)!

I agree with @joshtpm, “Don’t Coddle Fiona Hill” and I might add, other Trump Admin officials that ought to know better BUT did not say anything or did nothing - hello DEADBEAT Thugs-R-Us Legislators!


Bluster is all they’ve got. A (former) representative of the executive branch can invoke executive privilege if they choose. It cannot be invoked on their behalf.

Sad (and weak).


This story is incomplete. My understanding, I think from MSNBC, is that Hill’s lawyers told the White House to go pound sand (a technical legal term of art).


Putting aside the whole valid impeachment crap, any inquiry by Congress is valid. Doesn’t matter what the reason is. Could be Benghazi level partisan ass crazy business, it’s still a legal request.


The White House is sweating worse than a naked Mike Pence in a Turkish bath.


“The White House claimed those four topics could fall under executive privilege and were therefore off-limits.”

But, they never exerted executive privilege? And Hill wasn’t one to not talk because of some privilege that might be claimed at a later date, as so many before her have (although I doubt if many after her will, except maybe Rudy and Pompeo, - and perhaps Rick Perry if he can remember what that one is).)


there is no valid impeachment inquiry underway

Exactly! Everyone forgets the rider to Article I, Section 2, Clause 5 of the Constitution:

The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment conditional upon the target of the impeachment inquiry deeming the inquiry “valid.”


I would like to see Dem politicians, pundits, campaigners, and news talking heads just keep pounding this simple mantra:
Where is YOUR evidence?

Just once, Chump and company, provide a single sheet of exoneration. You scream about conspiracies, juntas, deep state, and you have issued an entire Ice Age blizzard of paperwork to muzzle and interdict perfectly legal proceedings. But not one single piece of paper proving that you didn’t commit any of these 100s of crimes from the 2016 campaign going forward.

I don’t expect this to be used in court, I mean for the edification of the viewing and voting public. No innocent person behaves like this…and even some guilty people can provide SOME paperwork to make it look like they acted in good faith. How many crimes can Chump and Co. commit and still have never once offered even a shred of counter-narrative. You have all the powers of hell at your command, and you still have nothing but blabber-mouthing, frothing, finger pointing, etc.

I think the avg. person out there has pretty much cottoned on and knows the score. But the below-average types might need this simple refresher.


Actually it’s the opposite that’s true.

But I do agree with this:


Apparently that is what Hill told the White House, that there is no executive privilege if a crime is involved. Can only find video over on ABC, and I don’t know which one the article I read in the Washington Post this morning was referencing.


This is very important:

Trump has dictatorial tendencies. As his remedies using established norms diminish he will turn more to remedies illegal (for which he has Barr)…or inciting (stochastic terrorism)…or quasi “foreign actions” (what he is now doing in the ME).

I still believe he will respond to a strategy in which the enablers still supporting him (like McConnell, the Derp House GOPPERS, Barr and others have been effectively neutralized.

Of the above enablers, the most dangerous and evil is Moscow McConnell, who attracts an insanely low amount of public scrutiny.


I disagreed with Josh’s post – the default position for career diplomats and national security officials is to advance the agenda, policies and priorities of whatever administration is in power. They will offer their advice, but when it comes to actions, they put their personal opinions aside, and act in accordance with the wishes of the current administration.

And this includes knowledge of “back channel” negotiations. Hill may not have approved of what was going on in back channel negotiations, and probably let that be known through the appropriate channels. In general, that is all that should be asked of career foreign service and national security officials – and suggesting that Hill was complicit is unfair.


Technically not the criminal’s job to prove that no crime was committed.


That is what I took from that and associated articles. It seemed that her lawyers actually laid waste to the idea of how the WH is using executive privilege.


Actually, only the president can invoke executive privilege.


Executive Privilege may not cover criminal acts, but I think Trump is betting on the Omertà Privilege.

Obviously, this missive to Hill’s attorneys wasn’t written by Trump as it lacked that frisson of hysterical panic the letter to the House Chairmen had.