The latest from the most transparent, accountable administration ever (via CNN):
President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege over document sought by a House committee investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting, said a letter to the panel Wednesday from Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole. The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the panel.
With that maneuver, Obama has guaranteed a story that has played out mostly under the radar of the mainstream press (including, I must acknowledge, on my own blog) will be thrust into the headlines. A House committee is holding a contempt hearing this morning over Attorney General Eric Holder’s lack of cooperation in its investigation of the operation, in which our government allowed hundreds of guns to be smuggled across the Mexican border. The guns subsequently were connected to the deaths of Mexican citizens and U.S. border agent Brian Terry.
Holder has been engaged in a standoff with House Republicans over documents related to the operation. The president has denied any knowledge of the operation, but his invoking executive privilege now puts the issue squarely at his doorstep.
Previous presidents from both parties have invoked executive privilege in the face of congressional investigations. It’s kind of like pleading the Fifth Amendment: In theory, it preserves one’s innocence, but the average observer is likely to infer the opposite and wonder what the administration is trying to hide.
For an idea of how Republicans might frame this issue in the election, check out this video by the American Future Fund (h/t: Power Line):
Expect this issue to pick up steam in the days and weeks ahead.
– By Kyle Wingfield