Breaking: Eric Holder asks for executive privilege on subpoenaed F&F documents; Update: And gets it

posted at 10:36 am on June 20, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

What in the sam hill is in these documents?

Last night, Chairman Darrell Issa declared that Attorney General Eric Holder had failed to provide sufficient documentation or a worthwhile-enough ‘briefing’ to forestall today’s scheduled contempt proceedings. Ahead of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s vote this morning, Holder finally decided to go straight to the top and ask his boss to invoke executive privilege on the outstanding documents included in last October’s Congressional subpoena. From Katie Pavlich, live on the Hill:

Just 15 minutes before the House Oversight Committee vote against Attorney General Eric Holder takes place, the Department of Justice has asked the White House to insert Executive Privilege for all Operation Fast and Furious documents according to Chairman Issa’s press secretary Becca Watkins.

Fox News is reporting that The Most Transparent Administration Ever has granted Holder’s request and will indeed allow him executive privilege to withhold the documents.

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.

Executive privilege is not a common tactic — the president’s authority can still be overturned (don’t you just love checks and balances?), but this could mean a showdown between our several branches of government. Doesn’t exactly do much to bolster the White House’s story that ‘this isn’t a cover-up’ and ‘the higher-ups were uninvolved in this operation,’ does it?

Regardless, the contempt vote is scheduled to move forward. If the Oversight Committee votes yes (and it looks like they will), that moves the proceedings over to the House. If the full House votes to hold Holder in contempt, it goes to a grand jury, and if a grand jury indicts Holder, it goes to trial.

Updates to follow…

Update: It appears that Eric Holder sent his letter to the White House requesting executive privilege last night, and this morning, Deputy Attorney General James Cole sent a letter to Chairman Issa informing the Committee of the White House’s assent.

Dear Mr. Chairman:

After you rejected the Department’s recent offers of additional accommodations, you stated that the Committee intends to proceed with its scheduled meeting to consider a resolution citing the Attorney General for contempt for failing to comply with the Committee’s subpoena of October 11, 2011. I write now to inform you that the President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, 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. Although we are deeply disappointed that the Committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the Department remains willing
to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.

Here’s another thought: Invoking executive privilege on this case is going to come off as a very dodgy and arrogant move. But the White House is willing to take on that bad press, and I can only presume that’s because whatever is in those documents… is much more damning than the alternative. Oh, the tangled webs we weave!

Update: The blogosphere has often lamented about the mainstream media’s lack of consistent interest in the deadly Fast and Furious scandal — they wouldn’t want to report too thoroughly on anything that might harm their darling president’s image, you know. But President Obama asserting his supreme authority into the fray has made this the top story of the day. Just search for breaking news related to “executive privilege.” It’s exploding. Heh. No more sweeping this under the rug now.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 12

Barack Nixon

The Count on June 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM

..spaghetti meet fan.

The War Planner on June 20, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Look for an 1,850+ page gap in what is eventually turned over.

teke184 on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

What in the sam hill is in these documents?

Evidence of this being much more than a “sting” operation…

PatriotRider on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

What in the sam hill is in these documents?

This was the nuclear option for the administration. They played it out hoping it wouldn’t come to this but they have no choice but to us EP.

The documents point all the way to the top. If they didn’t before, they do now.

Meric1837 on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

pass the frickin’ POPCORN…this is really starting to get good!

SDarchitect on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

You can see the Preidency ending right….now!

Oil Can on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

IMPEACH the Dictator!!!

No better than Nixon.

PappyD61 on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Mr president what did you know and when did you know it?

Skwor on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

They’ll be scheduling a shredding party next.

Laura Curtis on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Fast & Furious? Never heard of it.

- NBC

WisRich on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Holder and Obama have been stalling and playing run-out-the-clock from day one. Who out there believes that this morning was the first time Holder and Obama discussed asserting executive privilege?

GaltBlvnAtty on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Police and firefighters, Barky? I know of two law enforcement agents who are dead because of F&F; what about those jobs, you scumbag?

And all you media jackalopes can get stuffed for not digging more into this because you want to protect your boy, treasonous doucheballs.

Bishop on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Memo to Romney: SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

Doughboy on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

The media was in Barry’s corner the whole way with this and he blows it up and uses Executive Privilege which pretty much makes them have to cover it now.

I bet the media bosses are fuming over this.

ButterflyDragon on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Transparency!

The Schaef on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Eric Holder asks for executive privilege

First question, is Holder the “executive” that is inferred in “executive privilege”? I thought that “executive” was the President.

Then, if the “executive” IS the President, shouldn’t Oblamo request Executive Privilege?

And If Oblamo requests Executive Privilege, doesn’t that mean he is involved in this whole F&F thingy?

dirtseller on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Translation: I’m done covering your a$$ for you, Barry.

Dusty on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Criminals. Mitt, here’s your sign.

Philly on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM

This post needs AP’s favorite mushroom cloud image.

blah blah blah on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

It’s either resign now or this will be in the news until election day. And it does not help Barry. Of course, the usual suspects will claim it’s some RW cabal setting prezzy up.

Blake on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

What did Obama and Holder know and when did they know it! This is serious folks. Holder and Obama lied and people died!

Winebabe on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Waterloo.

BacaDog on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Everybody needs to get on John “Kleenex” Boehner’s case like ugly on a liberal woman. Brian Terry’s family needs justice.

CurtZHP on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Getting away with murder.

Philly on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

But Mitt Romney thinks WAWA’s touchscreens are amazing!

profitsbeard on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Transparency will be the Touchstone of my Administration.

Suspicion: You thought it was a lie when he said it.

Status: CONFIRMED

franksalterego on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

If the Oversight Committee votes yes (and it looks like they will), that moves the proceedings over to the House. If the full House votes to hold Holder in contempt, it goes to a grand jury, and if a grand jury indicts Holder, it goes to trial.

..and these ain’t Kiplingarian IFs neither, mate. One thing certain sure: the stench of this little beauty will stretch out from now until 6 November.

The War Planner on June 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Boy, you Repubs really come up with some cute names for these bogus investigations. /s

Buck_Nekkid on June 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Barack Nixon

The Count on June 20, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Hussein the first
Benedict Hussein
Hussein the A##hole

Oil Can on June 20, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Evidence of this being much more than a “sting” operation…

PatriotRider on June 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Yep. I’m thinking there was a legislative timeline which was to be followed culminating in some heinous restriction against the 2nd Amendment. The Nazis had it all planned out, then Officer Terry had to go and get himself killed and everything went to hell after that.

TFNP has bloody hands over this and the documents would implicate him from page one.

Bishop on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

I bet the media bosses are fuming over this.

ButterflyDragon on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

That is a very interesting point. Even for a media that is well practiced in the art of deception, this is going to be a very hard spin to make.

JusDreamin on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

…like ugly on a liberal woman….

CurtZHP on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Low blow—But direct hit.

dirtseller on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Isn’t the invoking of executive privilege a tacit confession the executive branch was involved?

whatcat on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

What in the sam hill is in these documents?

I nominate Erika for a Pulitzer.

faraway on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Regardless, the contempt vote is scheduled to move forward. If the Oversight Committee votes yes (and it looks like they will), that moves the proceedings over to the House. If the full House votes to hold Holder in contempt, it goes to a grand jury, and if a grand jury indicts Holder, it goes to trial.

Yeah but guess who does the investigation and presents the case to a grand jury? The US Attorney for DC who owes his career to Holder and is an Obama appointee and donor. In all likelihood this doesn’t go anywhere past the House vote because Obama’s DoJ is not going to take on Obama and Holder.

Happy Nomad on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

And If Oblamo requests Executive Privilege, doesn’t that mean he is involved in this whole F&F thingy?

dirtseller on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Not a big stretch to say that.

We know that several of his cabinet officials were in on it, as Holder (AG) and Napolitano (DHS) knew at the least.

That’s not even getting into Hillary (State) probably knowing because it was an international operation, or the aide who sat in on cabinet meetings who was being updated on the project and who has been put “on assignment” in Iraq for much of the past two years IIRC.

teke184 on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Memo to Romney: SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

Doughboy on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

When your enemy is destroying himself, get out of the way.

CurtZHP on June 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Police and firefighters, Barky? I know of two law enforcement agents who are dead because of F&F; what about those jobs, you scumbag?

Bishop on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Well, to be fair, that’s two job openings he created./

sadarj on June 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

First question, is Holder the “executive” that is inferred in “executive privilege”? I thought that “executive” was the President.

Then, if the “executive” IS the President, shouldn’t Oblamo request Executive Privilege?

And If Oblamo requests Executive Privilege, doesn’t that mean he is involved in this whole F&F thingy?

[dirtseller on June 20, 2012 at 10:40 AM]

Pretty much, but no one, has been hectoring the President on the subject since Barry disassociated himself from being responsible for running the executive branch of government.

Dusty on June 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Must be some pretty damning info in those documents…like the White House using this as a cover operation for the political purpose of Gun Control…

PatriotRider on June 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

In Feb 2013 I hope DC police have enough orange jumpsuits for this administration!

tim c on June 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

These people need to be held accountable for the lies and coverups. Right now I need a blood pressure pill!!! They kept trying the Bush Administration started F&F meme, but it just did not fly. They are covering for each other’s butts. Throw them out NOW.

formerwm on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

The Left’s Watergate has dawned.

Bitter Clinger on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Now comes the part where we Breitbart the media and force them cover this, right?

Book on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Warm up the jail cells.

….and the helicopters….

someone is going to take a ride home.

ted c on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Technical question: Can’t you find someone in contempt of Congress for his actions before executive privilege was invoked?

Executive privilege would have needed to be asserted earlier than now to get Holder off the hook.

Dextrous on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Everybody needs to get on John “Kleenex” Boehner’s case like ugly on a liberal woman. Brian Terry’s family needs justice.

CurtZHP on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Well, it’s Brian Terry’s fault for not looking like he could be Barry’s fictional son.

/

Laura in Maryland on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

and to think 1/2 of this Country has no idea why the Attorney General could be headed to jail…..WAY TO GO SLIMEBALL MAINSTREAM MEDIA….wall to wall Travon Martin meets Snooki coverage with a dash of Mitt altered vid’s for ordering a sandwich but no coverage at all on the BOTCHED PRESIDENTIAL GUN RUNNING OPERATION…

Yup, no media bias here………..

SDarchitect on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Memo to Romney: SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

Doughboy on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

And for pity’s sake say something mildly conservative!

Seriously, he needs to pipe up on this!

MelonCollie on June 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

How’s that “Hope and Change” working out for ya America.

The Greatest most corrupt Administration evaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……………..

Baxter Greene on June 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

“Why did the President invoke Executive Privelage? What does the President know and when did he know it”

I love it.

WisRich on June 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Making the Nixon administration look like used car salesmen since January, 2009. Most Transparent administration EVAH!

Mini-14 on June 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

The coverup begins with this.

LFRGary on June 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Exerting Executive Privilege means the President was briefed on the operation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege

Cool!

Bring the popcorn!!!

patch on June 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM

I bet the media bosses are fuming over this.
ButterflyDragon on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

That is a very interesting point. Even for a media that is well practiced in the art of deception, this is going to be a very hard spin to make.
JusDreamin on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

They’ll replace this news with a breaking story on Lindsay Lohan’s troubles.

whatcat on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Really, the only thing left to debate on this issue is the motivation of the administration. If there is any evidence in any document even remotely indicating the object was to introduce weapons to an unsuspecting public to make news about gun violence (as many assert) it’s all over except for that girthy lady cranking out a tune.

hawkdriver on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

WHY ARE THE RAAAACIST RETHUGLIKKANS HOUNDING TWO BLACK MEN?! [/MFM]

Physics Geek on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I’m beginning to think Barack Obama does’t know what he’s doing….

/sarc

cpaulus on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Also by evoking Executive Privilege, Obama is admitting that this goes all the way to the top.

Mini-14 on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

oh please oh please let the people running Mitt’s ad campaign make a video blurb about this!

As for the EP by Bambi, he came from Chicago. So corruption and top level cover up are the first things baby politicos are taught!
I hope this leads to an indictment. I really do.

RadioAngel on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

When your enemy is destroying himself, get out of the way.

CurtZHP on June 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I disagree. The only way Obama is harmed by this is if it blows up into a major scandal. And that can’t happen if the media is allowed to continue to bury the story. Even with this move today, they could still downplay the thing. But if Romney harps on it(not incessantly, but enough that it gets airplay), it’ll elevate the issue and more Americans will become aware of it.

Doughboy on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Coverup

newportmike on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

While 129 House Republicans out of the 242 sitting have called for his resignation, not a single solitary House Democrat out of their 191 in the House has called for USAG Eric Holder’s resignation. Not. Even. One.

There is no way that he’ll ever successfully be held in contempt by “the fool full House”.

FlatFoot on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Well….how do Mexicans feel about Obama having direct knowledge of the administration arming the folks who have been slaughtering them and burying folks in mass graves? All to gin up support for stricter gun control laws. WOW.

TXMomof3 on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Sounds like this latest move was Valerie Jarrett’s idea.

parteagirl on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Obama just linked F&F directly to himself.

That is weird.

faraway on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Getting away with murder.

Philly on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

They’re trying their hardest.

But isn’t there something that Congress can do to override an executive order?

This administration is completely lawless, unaccountable, and out of control.

UltimateBob on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Now does NBC have to give it’s viewers a background of what F&F is?

ArtVandelay on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

“I am not a criminal” -Barrack Milhouse Obama

stenwin77 on June 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

The difference is, in Nixon’s case the real excrement didn’t hit the fan till after the election. That’s what President Barack Milhous Obama was hoping for too.

RBMN on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

and to think 1/2 of this Country has no idea why the Attorney General could be headed to jail…..WAY TO GO SLIMEBALL MAINSTREAM MEDIA….wall to wall Travon Martin meets Snooki coverage with a dash of Mitt altered vid’s for ordering a sandwich but no coverage at all on the BOTCHED PRESIDENTIAL GUN RUNNING OPERATION…

Yup, no media bias here………..

SDarchitect on June 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

In fairness, Sheryl Atkisson of CBS has been covering F&F. But other than Fox, the rest have swept it under the mat.

Bitter Clinger on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

It’s an admission of guilt also.

Mini-14 on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

obama ordered the hit on Agent Terry to weaken the 2nd ammendment.
obama stupidly put the order in writing.
obama had no choice to order this cover up.
obama will avoid impeachment since there’s only four months left.

crash72 on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Breaking: Eric Holder asks for executive privilege on subpoenaed F&F documents


Brian Terry unavailable for comment…….

Baxter Greene on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Cue the Executive Privilege…

Now, let’s go back to that cryptic 2009, 2010 Obama statement regarding some “under the radar” gun control efforts that we should wait and see about. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge…, say no more.

parke on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Already looking forward to what my government legal advisor, Mark Levin Esquire, will have to say about this.

Dextrous on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

“WAWA” means wild goose in Native America.

Does Mitt Romney know that?

Focus, people, focus!

The real story is Mitt Romney and that touchscreen!

Listen to your media!

profitsbeard on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

If neither Holder nor Obama were not briefed about the operation before Border Agents were killed (as they have said all along), then how can they claim executive privilege?

Zaggs on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

That is a very interesting point. Even for a media that is well practiced in the art of deception, this is going to be a very hard spin to make.

JusDreamin on June 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

According to Elijah Cummings it’s just partisan politics and Eric Holder has been ever so helpful.

Poor Eric Holder walked guns into Mexico, and someone is holding him accountable, bad oversight committee, bad oversight committee doing their duty.

Rep Carolyn Maloney (D) New York, on CSPAN right now this is a witch hunt in an election year. The committee is just attacking the AG and President it’s unprecedented.

These people don’t belong in Congress they deserve to be investigated themselves.

Maloney wants stronger gun control….remember this is all about setting up Gun Vendors for stricter gun control.

Maloney is skeevy slimy she drips hypocrisy.

Dr Evil on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Executive previlege, as far as I know, involves conversations with the Presiident concerning national security. So is Holder’s position that all 80,000 requested documents involve the president personally? If so, Obama would have to have spent more time on F and F then he has on his golf game.

Fred 2 on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Granting “executive privilege” specifically to cover-up criminal activity is clearly an impeachable offense.

Pork-Chop on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Who wants to wager Holder and Obama put this strategy in their holster the very day border agent Terry was killed?

“This is bad boss, heads are gonna roll.”

“No prob Eric, we can always fall back on executive privilege. And don’t forget, I can pardon you too.”

fogw on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Eric Holder belongs in jail as an accessory to murder, just like his boss.

rbj on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

If the full House votes to hold Holder in contempt, it goes to a grand jury, and if a grand jury indicts Holder, it goes to trial.

To which the natural question to ask is: Who oversees that Grand Jury?

JohnGalt23 on June 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Crashing and burning before our eyes (and this is still before the scouts decisions). /popcorn

nobar on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

But if Romney harps on it(not incessantly, but enough that it gets airplay), it’ll elevate the issue and more Americans will become aware of it.

Doughboy on June 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Dear God, man. You don’t think ‘Executive Privilege’ is enough. This just pushes it to the top of the heap.

faraway on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Carolyn Maloney = IDIOT and LIAR

Eren on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

This is quickly becoming a coverup that will make Watergate look like child’s play. Obama’s crooked regime is in a panic and will do anything to avoid being caught.

rplat on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Now let’s watch Katie Pavlich’s book “Fast and Furious” shoot up the NY Best sellers list……………..

Baxter Greene on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

But-but-but Boooossssssssssshhhhhh.
— typical liberal

CJ on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

“The president created two jobs in law enforcement by having to replace the guys who were killed because of Fast and Furious. Success!”

-leftist trash

Bishop on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

The whole process has been a delaying tactic by Eric Holder and the DOJ. It is also a game of chicken between Republicans and the WH. It will be great when there will be action in this whole spectacle.

Weebork on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Waterloo.

BacaDog on June 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Waterloo, no. Custer’s Little Bighorn, yes.

SWalker on June 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

I have no idea, but I do know that you guys come up with really cool names for your fake scandals.

crr6 on July 10, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Del Dolemonte on June 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM

MSDNC is starting wall-to-wall coverage…

of the Sandusky trial.

Droopy on June 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM

We have any IT guys who are familiar with the DOJ email backup system? I’m not asking for a breach of security, but just a very general idea of what would be required to wipe a bunch of damning emails. I’m asking because I think that a simple shredder isn’t going to get the job done in this day and age, and wanted to get some confirmation.

DFCtomm on June 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Maloney: I am offended that Rep Issa called Holder a liar no respect for our Attorney General.

Maloney is a piece of work, who in New York is electing this P.O.S. to represent them?

Dr Evil on June 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM

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