To believe Ruemmler’s claim that the House request is “an unreasonable burden on the President’s ability to meet his constitutional duties,” you’d have to assume the search engine had never been invented. This is the work of a few hours, at a time when the executive branch has 2.8 million employees. The whole thing could be done by staffers, leaving the president to focus on golf and fundraising and long, boring speeches.

With all respect to Nixon and Schultz, the president’s real avatar in this affair may be evil King John, who fought tooth and nail for absolute executive privilege before being compelled to sign the Magna Carta. While a quick reread reveals Shakespeare’s Life and Death of King John to be disappointingly lacking in quotable material, the actual monarch had a line that nicely captures the combination of entitlement and self-pity common to true believers in executive privilege: “Why do not the barons, with these unjust exactions, ask my kingdom?”