Up until now, Holder has insisted that the White House had absolutely nothing to do with Fast & Furious. Now Obama asserts executive privilege on some Fast and Furious documents
The White House move means the Department of Justice can withhold some of the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.
“The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a statement released Wednesday shortly after the president’s move. “How can the President assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the President exert executive privilege over documents he’s supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme? The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances. The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it’s never repeated again.”
The White House may claim that anyone in the executive branch can claim executive privilege. That’s not going to work,
In the landmark case that spells out presidential executive privilege, United States vs Nixon (1974), the Supreme Court found that executive privilege pertains to communications directly with the president, and otherwise limited the scope of executive privilege. Today’s move by the White House implies either that Fast and Furious reaches directly into the Oval Office, or that the White House is challenging the Nixon ruling. Either way, today’s assertion is a major escalation of the scandal.
Now that the White House has jumped in, will the media pay attention?
Phineas has more on the topic.
Memories… from 2007;