Ashcroft’s position is that internal government memoranda providing advice to the president are not subject to congressional oversight. The demand that Ashcroft, on the spot, assert executive privilege, was all drama. Only the president can assert the privilege. This is the beginning of a possible separation of powers fight along those lines. The underlying objective here is to tie the Iraqi prison misconduct to Bush, by claiming it was official policy. By the way, Reagan would have had the perfect response to Joe Biden, as he did on other occasions when Congress overreached.