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.
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)?!