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White House Exerts Executive Privilege Over ‘Fast And Furious’ Documents

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
June 20, 2012

The battle between the Obama administration and the House Oversight and Government over the Fast and Furious operation just ratcheted up another notch. There’s word that the White House is exerting executive privilege over documents that the committee’s Republican majority has subpoenaed.

That news, from NPR’s Carrie Johnson and others on the story, broke just minutes before a committee hearing at which lawmakers are expected to vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over those documents. That hearing is to be webcast here.

Reuters is reporting that a committee aide says the panel will go forward with the majority plan to cite Holder for contempt.

As Carrie reported for us in February:

“Fast and Furious broke into public view after the December 2010 death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Two guns connected to the botched gun-trafficking operation were found near the body of Brian Terry, igniting two congressional probes and an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.”

Holder appeared before the panel on June 7 where he faced a grilling from Chairman Darrel Issa, R-Calif. and other Republican lawmakers. Issa asked Holder if his department knew of the tactics used in the flawed gunrunning operation, and Republicans accused him of not coming clean and not complying with subpoenas.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET. Hearing Opens, Letters Released:

At the start of the hearing, Issa said the committee did not set out to hold Holder in contempt, but rather to “get the information the committee needs to complete its work.” Of the exertion of executive privilege, he said it was “not spoken of last night” when committee staffers and Justice Department officials were negotiating.

He called it “an untimely assertion by the Justice Department.”

Carrie forwarded us the two letters written by Justice about the assertion of executive privilege. Cilck on the titles to pop up larger versions: [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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