Shortly thereafter, the president resigned rather than face a Senate trial.
She did not — indeed could not — invoke executive privilege, a power that only Mr. Trump can wield to prevent disclosure of information to Congress. But she refused to answer anyway, as though executive privilege properly applied.
A self-respecting legislative branch would not allow executive-branch witnesses to so easily evade basic questioning, particularly when it concerns matters as important as the Russia investigation.
.. It is unjustifiable to use executive privilege when the White House communications director is asked about, say, the president’s involvement in crafting a deceptive public statement about his son’s infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer — or, for that matter, her own role in the episode.
.. When past presidents sought to prevent or limit disclosure, they typically either invoked executive privilege or worked out a deal with congressional investigators before taking that formal step. Now, top Trump administration officials are evading questions without the White House doing either.
.. Ms. Hicks’s behavior has not been isolated. Former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon was similarly uncooperative. Before the Senate this past June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that he could not invoke executive privilege but that his refusal to answer certain questions protected “the right of the president to assert it if he chooses.” Even Corey Lewandowski, who never worked in the White House, was evasive.
.. Lawmakers at least followed up by subpoenaing Mr. Bannon, a step they failed to take with Ms. Hicks when she testified. But she is as deserving of a subpoena. Meanwhile, the House should move to hold Mr. Bannon in contempt for his continued foot-dragging, which would require the assent of Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
.. Republicans held Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt when they were pursuing their trumped-up investigation of the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scheme. Zealously defending the dignity of the legislative branch mattered to them when a Democrat was in the White House. And now?