Confidentiality of the Attorney General’s Communications in Counseling the President

Headnotes: 

The following memorandum examines the scope of confidentiality accorded the Attorney General’s communications with the President, and the extent to which those communications may be shielded from compulsory disclosure to Members of Congress, the courts, and members of the public. It considers the dual nature of the Attorney General’s role as Cabinet member and as principal legal adviser to the President, and extends to the broader question of the confidentiality of the deliberative materials generated by the Attorney General and those who assist him. The memorandum discusses the applicability of the doctrine of executive privilege, and the appropriate circumstances for its invocation. It also analyzes the scope of the deliberative process and attomeyclient privileges under the Freedom of Information Act, and of the traditional governmental evidentiary privileges and their statutory counterparts.

Updated July 9, 2014