Free Markets, Free People

Obama allows Holder to “hide behind” executive privilege

I’m sure no one is surprised that the most transparent administration in history has chosen to invoke executive privilege in the Fast and Furious investigation being conducted by Congress and deny that institution it’s ability to conduct its oversight responsibility.

Here’s President Obama as candidate Obama in 2007 talking about the use of executive privilege (btw, irony alert – note the CNN banner – the answer? No.):



That was then when it was the GOP’s fat in the fire. However, now that it is his and Eric Holder’s that’s being roasted, well that’s different.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) criticized the White House. "How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen?" Mr. Grassley said.

Details, details. 

At issue are Justice Department documents that Messrs. Issa and Grassley have sought and that the department resisted turning over in the congressional investigation into a botched gun-trafficking probe called Fast and Furious. The department said the documents reflected internal deliberation or were related to continuing criminal investigations and therefore weren’t subject to congressional subpoena.

Of course no one knows if any of that is true (or true of all the documents requested) since no one outside the Justice Department is able to inspect them.  And this was an operation that AG Holder characterized as a “low-level operation”.  Now, suddenly it needs executive protection?  Seems like a heck of a sudden escalation in “levels” doesn’t it?

Apparently the decision to invoke executive privilege came after a meeting between AG Holder and Rep. Issa:

Messrs. Issa and Holder met Tuesday for 20 minutes. From their accounts, it has become a game of chicken, with each side insisting the other act first to resolve the standoff.

Mr. Holder said Mr. Issa rejected his offer to provide documents because the lawmaker wouldn’t agree that they would fulfill a subpoena, effectively ending the contempt threat. Mr. Issa said the attorney general didn’t come prepared to provide documents and that the contempt threat can’t be removed until the documents are produced.

Holder then proceeded to take the documents off the table via the President and executive privilege.

Mr. Grassley said Tuesday night: "The attorney general wants to trade a briefing and the promise of delivering some small, unspecified set of documents tomorrow for a free pass today. He wants to turn over only what he wants to turn over and not give us any information about what he’s not turning over. That’s unacceptable. I’m not going to buy a pig in a poke. Chairman Issa is right to move forward to seek answers about a disastrous government operation."

Contempt of Congress should now move forward.  Frankly, Holder has been contemptuous of the law since the first day he took the office of the Attorney General.

And, for most folks, human nature says that those who have something they don’t want known have a tendency to try to hide it.  Whether true or not, that’s how it appears … just as it did in the example in the video when Obama spoke out against the use of what he invoked today.

Matt Burden came up with my favorite bit of irony today as concerns this burgeoning fiasco:

Okay, I want to know what freaking idiot leaks all kinds of classified operations putting military, civilian agents, and allies at risk but pulls EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE on Fast and Furious documents (that AG Holder said was a low level op)?!

Oh, wait…

Heh …


Twitter: @McQandO

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21 Responses to Obama allows Holder to “hide behind” executive privilege

  • Can an ex-president be impeached?

    • Ex? No, and you can bet those responsible will be pardoned before he leaves office. But a freshly re-elected President can be impeached, so there’s some hope Congress will do its’ job IF Republicans take back the Senate. Biden woudn’t be any more qualified, but at least he (doesn’t seem) to hate America. 

  • This WILL go to the courts.  The Obami WILL have to produce the documents in that process.
    Pres. Composite has kicked the Tar Baby.

    • Doesn’t Executive privilege have to have a reason, such as national security?  So the reason here is, what, Presidential Security?

      • The WH has expressly invoked “deliberative process” executive privilege.  Which seems to directly implicate Obama, since EP does not extend to everybody.  Basically, just POTUS and VPOTUS, as I understand.

        • But doesn’t that mean he may not actually be involved and is invoking on behalf of the Executive office, rather than himself?   And from what I’ve read (within the last hour  🙂 ) the deliberative is a weaker defense, no?
          Now, I believe he’s not directly involved in the same way I believe he’s not a socialist…

  • Doesn’t executive privledge only apply to the communications of POTUS? Isn’t this then an admission Obama is involved?

    • I gather there’s a difference between his being involved (the Presidency) to protect his communications and his exerting the privilege over the communications because the Justice Department is part of the Executive Branch but he may not necessarily be involved (sure…right…uh huh…not directly involved…didn’t know anything…I see….)
      This is presumably the later case.  However it’s a good stonewall for now until we see if the House can actually pass a contempt vote.
      This still may go to the Nixonian level though, where the coverup is at least as bad as the crime.

      • You can’t exert EP over an investigation by a co-equal branch of a department of government SUPPOSED to oversee their conduct.
        EP is VERY limited, and ONLY protects the executive from disclosure of “core” activities unique to that office.
        Like other privileges, it does not cloak one from criminal liability.  Just disclosure of certain info.

  • Wait for it…
    wait for it…
    They wouldn’t be doing this to a white president.

  • “Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ were confined to the Department of Justice,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.
    “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. The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” Buck said.

  • ”  And this was an operation that AG Holder characterized as a “low-level operation”.  Now, suddenly it needs executive protection”

    Oh yeah. Purely a regional operation , unknown to anyone in Washington and shut down as soon as they heard about it. And yet they now claim it involves deliberations and decision making by the Chief Executive and his senior advisors.

    • Yeah, I noticed that too.  And even though it’s been shut down, and they thought it needed to be shut down, no one is allowed to look at any of the information that it collected, or the deliberations to shut it down.
      Doesn’t this strike you as the sort of thing the kid that lit the house on fire with the matches wants to do – “there was a fire, I put it out, it’s over, let’s move on”.

  • I would recommend a strong buy position on companies that produce shredding equipment and/or provide shredding services between now and November. 

  • More speed…more pressure.  All good.  Erp, you following this?

    • Watch and learn. Obama will skate demonstrate that this is just a witch hunt by dense righties in the House. Who I predicted in 2010 would dominate the House, by the way, in a conversation with some of the giant magenta caterpillars in my basement. So just shut up about how I said two weeks before the election that those Tea Party backed extremists could not possibly win the House and would only win a couple of dozen seats, just shut up about that.

      This is a good and necessary step for the Obama administration. It will cause everyone concerned to sit down and work things out. Yes, just get everyone around the table and hash it out in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Which will work great as long as we exclude those Tea Party extremists and let the decisions on how to proceed be made by wise pragmatic moderates like Olympia Snowe.

      Who I voted for, or at least said I did, and that means I voted for a Republican, which proves I’m also a pragmatic moderate too. So stop calling me a leftist. Just because I support every big government program that’s ever been floated, and think Obama with his christlike visage is simply dreamy, and am so far anti-war that I did a seminar with Cindy Sheehan, that does not mean I’m a leftist. No sir. Stop saying that.

      Anyway, Obama is almost certain to be re-elected, as I’ve been saying for years, despite any Tea Party attempts to smear him and his fine, upstanding, person-of-color Attorney General. And if he isn’t, it will be because corporate money was used to deceive the American people. Of course, no matter what happens, it will turn out that I predicted it. So shut up about how I insisted early on that he would cut spending, just stop bringing that up.

      Though Romney would not be as bad as most of the dense righties in the GOP. He’s a right of left of right of center kind of guy, and will bring everyone together in a spirit of bipartisan compromise, the way he did when he passed a truly marvelous healthcare mandate next door in Massachusetts. Unless he gets dominated by those Tea Party Republicans in Congress, who are just a small, extremist minority and should not have any influence at all.

      I’ve been busy taking students to Europe and other stuff that shows what a high-minded world traveler I am, and thus so, so much better able to analyze and discuss politics than you sterile, inbred, Goebbles-like people. So I just have not had any time to come here and respond to all the stuff that’s happened. I have definitely not stayed away just because things are going so badly for Obama, and my earlier predictions about the Middle East are looking bad, and there’s nothing going on for me to crow about. Stop laughing. I’m busy.

      And when I come back when something does come along that I can crow about, it will not be just to crow. I’ll suddenly find some time to lecture to you thick righties, fulfilling my long time duty to you to see the other side of our glorious political debate and help you come to an understanding of the historical inevitability of letting smart people like me with advanced degrees decide every aspect of your lives.

      Now you must excuse me. I’m busy writing on my own blog about how Obama is being bold and is still likely to win, and Romney is in a tough position because of the forthright and totally not illegal action by Obama to grant amnesty to do the right thing for young Hispanics. With young defined as thirty years old. Oh, and I’ve been writing science fiction about stuff coming back from the future which just coincidentally shows that everything I ever thought would come true did so. Just using more of my amazing ability to predict things. Ta ta.

  • Phil, I’ll settle for throwing the bum of of office now, and then forever tarnishing him and that Hal Linden lookalike Atty General afterwards.

  • What I like most about the video of Obama from 2007 is how much older he looks a mere 5 years later.   Pretty evil huh?   🙂