A couple of definitions:
executive privilege n. a claim by the President or another high official of the executive branch that he/she need not answer a request (including a subpena issued by a court or Congress) for confidential government or personal communications, on the ground that such revelations would hamper effective governmental operations and decision-making. The rationale is that such a demand would violate the principle of separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill.
The principle that members of the executive branch of government cannot legally be forced to disclose their confidential communications when such disclosure would adversely affect the operations or procedures of the executive branch.The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Ordinarily I would say that while we
should not draw any conclusions about the documents or White House involvement in the scandal, the time to invoke such a privilege would have been at or near the start of this debacle.
Invoking the privilege at this late date does tend to link the White House to any supposed cover-up.