Bad news: Jon Stewart not exactly buying the executive-privilege claim

posted at 12:41 pm on June 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Via Katie Pavlich, that’s not the only bad news here for Eric Holder and Barack Obama. Not only does Jon Stewart tell an audience inclined towards supporting Obama in November exactly why Operation Fast and Furious was so important to investigate, he also explains that the Obama administration has been refusing to cooperate with subpoenas, giving false information to Congress, and generally stalling for the last several months. On top of that, Stewart then skewers the same Democrats who blasted George Bush in 2007 for hypocrisy in defending Obama’s executive privilege claim in 2012. That’s a hell of a lot more information than NBC provided its viewers this week, that’s for sure:

Stewart then argues that Democrats can’t identify a difference between the two situations:

Actually, there is a key difference … but it doesn’t help Democrats. The issue in 2007 involved the use of non-delegable executive authority specifically granted under Article II to make political appointments — in the event, those of US Attorneys, who like all other political appointees serve at will at the pleasure of the President. As courts have ruled in Nixon and Espy, executive privilege applies in the exercise of non-delegable Article II powers as part of the separation of powers in the government. Operation Fast and Furious was conducted by a federal agency under powers delegated to the DoJ that are shared between Congress and the President. Furthermore, the subpoenas in this case relate to official misconduct and lawbreaking — not just the gunrunning but also false testimony before Congress. Presidents cannot claim executive privilege to shield documents in those circumstances, as Espy explicitly states.

The White House spin isn’t working. Even Jon Stewart ridiculed it. Maybe NBC might consider following Stewart’s lead and report honestly on the story now.


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