Russia probes come up against claims of executive privilege

 
 
Posted1/18/2018 7:00 AM
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  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, left, leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington.

    Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, left, leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, second from left, is escorted from a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington.

    Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, second from left, is escorted from a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, left, leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington.

    Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, left, leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington. Associated Press

  • Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, following the committee's interview with former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

    Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, following the committee's interview with former White House strategist Steve Bannon. Associated Press

  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington.

    Former White House strategist Steve Bannon leaves a House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Washington. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, where his is expected to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee regarding the Russia probe.

    President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, center, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, where his is expected to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee regarding the Russia probe. Associated Press

  • Rick Dearborn, President Donald Trump's White House deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs, walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, where he is being interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee regarding the Russia probe.

    Rick Dearborn, President Donald Trump's White House deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs, walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, where he is being interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee regarding the Russia probe. Associated Press

  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., walks to the House Intelligence Committee hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018.

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., walks to the House Intelligence Committee hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's White House is relying on a sweeping interpretation of executive privilege that is rankling members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

The contention espoused by top White House officials? Pretty much everything is off limits until the president says it's not.

The argument was laid bare this week during former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon's closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe.

As lawmakers probed Bannon's time working for Trump, his attorney got on the phone with the White House counsel's office, relaying questions and asking what Bannon could tell Congress. The answer was a broad one. Bannon couldn't discuss anything to do with his work on the presidential transition or later in the White House itself.

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