Mueller and the American public need to understand whether the president was involved with activities implicated in these criminal proceedings. Surely, he deserves at least as much time as it took Gowdy to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi — a two-year undertaking that produced no charges.

Because courts expect the president to assert any executive privilege claims document by document or question by question, a blanket refusal to respond to Mueller’s interview request won’t fly. The need to evaluate core issues in the obstruction of justice investigation, including the president’s removal of FBI Director James Comeyand pretextual reasons offered for it, would weigh heavily against any blanket executive privilege claim.

If past is prologue, the president and his legal team will likely continue their modern-day “will he or won’t he” Hamlet act about appearing before Mueller in the Russia probe. As it relates to executive privilege, it’s more political theater than legal firewall.