Obama invokes executive privileged for Holder
By BENNY MARTINEZ
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON - The White House on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over subpoenaed Fast and Furious documents after an eleventh-hour request from the Justice Department, raising questions over what President Obama knew about the mission.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote a letter to House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa Wednesday morning announcing that Obama had granted a Justice Department request to assert executive privilege over relevant Fast and Furious documents.
“We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee’s concerns and to accommodate the committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious,” wrote Cole.
Nonetheless, the hearing forged ahead, featuring some heated back-and-forth between Issa and the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
In defending Holder, Cummings blasted Issa for going on national television to tag “the nation’s chief law enforcement officer” a “liar,” and accused the California Republican of making “highly inflammatory personal attacks” against Holder throughout the investigation.
“You accused [Holder] of a ‘cover up’ for protecting documents he was prohibited by law from producing,” Cummings said.
The committee’s top Democrat pointed to yesterday’s late afternoon meeting with Holder as evidence to Issa’s refusal to cooperate with the Justice Departments accommodations. Cummings accused Issa of going into the meeting ready to announce failure.
“It seems you had no interest in resolving this issue,” he said. “And that the Committee planned to go forward with contempt before we walked in.”
The last-minute move by the president could very well create a whirlwind of speculation into the extent of his involvement in the mission. Additionally, Obama’s decision could usher in unwelcome and intense scrutiny during an already heated election season.
TRNS correspondent and former Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) believes that situation could lead to some headaches for Obama and his efforts to win a second term.
“This will lead to ‘something to hide’ which, over the long run, [Obama] could win,” Ney said. “But this is the summer before the election and not after the election. This may be, if played correctly [by Repbulicans], a pain for Obama.”
Ney said that asserting executive privilege is not an unusual move made by recent presidents. Former President George W. Bush, according to Ney, employed the same authority to “shield Cheney from disclosure of meetings with people like Haliburton.”
The contempt of Congress citation against Holder is still being pushed by Issa, but there is a likelihood that the hearing will recess to review the president’s decision to assert Executive Privilege over Fast and Furious documents.
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