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George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait)

Painting of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart depicts Washington, dressed in black, standing with right arm outstretched. Just behind George Washington is an ornate gilded chair with red fabric and an American flag insignia. To Washington's right side is a table with a quill and parchment visible. Two large books are propped up against the table leg.
Stuart, Gilbert, 1755 -1828
1796
Painting
Stuart, Gilbert, artist. George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait). Painting. 1796. Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery Collection. https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.2001.13

In August 1795, a treaty with Great Britain that was drafted under President George Washington by Secretary of State John Jay was ratified by the Senate. Opponents of the treaty in the House of Representatives questioned their lack of involvement in the treaty, especially if it affected their appropriation (allocating funding) powers and commerce powers. How does this document help us understand the executive branch?

In August 1795, a treaty with Great Britain that was drafted under President George Washington by Secretary of State John Jay was ratified by the Senate. Opponents of the treaty in the House of Representatives questioned their lack of involvement in the treaty, especially if it affected their appropriation (allocating funding) powers and commerce powers. They launched an investigation into the treaty in the House of Representatives and requested documents from President Washington. The term executive privilege was coined in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration. Executive privilege is the right of the president or high-ranking government officials to withhold information from Congress, the courts, and the public. This right is not stated anywhere in the US Constitution; however, presidents have claimed executive privilege throughout history as an implied presidential power. Most executive privilege claims result from a congressional investigation or oversight committee that asks a president for documents or testimony on an issue, treaty, event, or other executive action. Sometimes presidents provide this information freely; other times they refuse. Presidents have asserted executive privilege in instances involving foreign affairs and national security, costs of programs, firings of officials, and implementation of legislation passed by Congress. While the power of the president to exert executive privilege has been challenged in the courts throughout the years, the Supreme Court has deferred to the executive and legislative branches, prompting them to resolve the issue of congressional investigation and executive privilege on their own.