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Trump lawyers affirm executive privilege of former DOJ official fighting to keep D.C. bar license

FIRST ON FOX – The legal team of former president Donald Trump are instructing former Justice Department official Jeffery Clark to maintain executive privilege amid the fight to strip his bar license. 

Clark, who served as assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division during Trump’s administration, is fighting efforts by the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel to have him disbarred for a letter he drafted, outlining what he perceived as “significant concerns” in the state of Georgia during the 2020 election. 

According to a letter obtained by Fox News Digital from white-collar attorney Todd Blanche representing the 45th president in two of his criminal cases, Trump’s legal team is instructing Clark to “maintain President Trump’s executive privilege and other related privileges, including law enforcement privilege, attorney client privilege, and deliberative process privilege.”

A D.C. Bar disciplinary proceeding against Clark is set to begin on March 26, where former White House counsel Patrick Philbin is scheduled to testify, according to Blanche.

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Clark is also a named defendant in the ongoing racketeering case against Trump in Georgia. 

The question of executive privilege between a president and his administration appointees has been central to cases against Trump and allegations that he tried to interfere with the 2020 election. 

In 2021, the Department of Justice told Clark that President Joe Biden’s decision to waive executive privilege gave Clark and other former department officials clearance to testify about their deliberations in relation to Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the presidential election.

But Douglas A. Collins, then-attorney for Trump, told Clark that waiver was “unlawful.” 

“The executive privilege applicable to communications with President Trump belongs to the Office of the Presidency, not to any individual President, and President Biden has no power to unilaterally waive it. The reason is clear: if a President were empowered unilaterally to waive executive privilege applicable to communications with his or her predecessors, particularly those of the opposite party, there would effectively be no executive privilege,” Collins wrote in an August 2021 letter. 

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Blanche in his Jan. 4 letter notes that at the time President Trump did not seek judicial intervention to prevent Clark’s testimony or the testimony of other former Department officials.

But because Clark was “never subpoenaed to testify to the House Oversight or Senate Judiciary Committees, never sat for transcribed interviews with these Committees, and seeing that there are no similar pending congressional subpoenas applicable to you, this assertion is now moot,” Blanche writes.

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“Further, the Collins Letter preserved President Trump’s executive privilege rights by not “’otherwise waiving the executive privilege associated with the matters [concerning the 2020 election] the Committees are purporting to investigate,’” Blanche continued. 

In light of these circumstances and the pending D.C. Bar disciplinary proceeding against you, … we hereby instruct you to maintain President Trump’s executive privilege and other related privileges, including law enforcement privilege, attorney client privilege, and deliberative process privilege,” he concluded.

Former President Trump, who is leading the polls in the 2024 GOP primary election, will be in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday Jan. 9 asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to toss out criminal charges filed by special counsel Jack Smith against the former president for alleged election interference in the 2020 election.

The former president has claimed “absolute immunity” from prosecution since he was president in the weeks after the election and on Jan 6, 2021 when the Capitol riots took place. 

Fox News’ Bill Mears and Tyler Olsen contributed to this report. 

   

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