President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Holder by Republicans in the House.
While the executive privilege claim may slow down the quest for more information it is a very dangerous move by President Obama. Before this morning he had Eric Holder as the scapegoat, now that he has asserted executive privilege… the buck stops with him!
The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the panel.
The letter came just as the House Oversight Committee was set to vote on a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder for not providing some documents on the botched federal firearms sting operation.
A showdown meeting Tuesday between Holder and panel chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, failed to resolve their dispute over the committee’s demand for the Department of Justice to turn over more documents about the program.
“Prepping for #contempt proceedings against #Holder for #FastAndFurious stonewalling. Didn’t have to be this way, but we’ll do our duty,” said a Twitter post by Issa before the committee convened Wednesday.
To attain those documents, Congressman Issa will have to either negotiate with the White House or begin a federal law suit.
Update 1: Boehner agrees-
“Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ were confined to the Department of Justice. The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed,” said Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) spokesman, Michael Steel. “The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?
Update II: In 2007 Senator Obama told CNN that Executive Priviledge was not a good reason to with hold information from Congress (Holy Hypocrisy Batman!)
Update III Holder’s Letter to Issa follows: