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BREAKING: DOJ Asks White House to Assert Executive Privilege Over All Fast and Furious Documents

Votes coming down at approximately 2:45 PM. Stay tuned.

UPDATE VII: Romney campaign responds:

“President Obama’s pledge to run the most open and transparent administration in history has turned out to be just another broken promise,” she said in a statement to BuzzFeed.




UPDATE V: White House defends executive privilege decision:

A White House spokesman said Mr. Obama “has gone longer without asserting the privilege in a congressional dispute” than any other president in the past three decades. The White House said President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege six times, while President Bill Clinton did so 14 times.

It’s the first time in his presidency that Mr. Obama has claimed executive privilege. Mr. Bush asserted executive privilege to block release of documents and testimony under oath by top White House aides, including then-White House counsel Harriet Miers, concerning the administration’s firing of nine federal prosecutors in 2006. Those aides later gave testimony in private, under a deal arranged by the Obama administration.

Presidents typically cite executive privilege to protect aides within the White House, not Cabinet members, from disclosing sensitive information under the reasoning that a president’s closest advisers should be able to give him their advice freely in private.

UPDATE IV: John Boehner accuses White House of covering up Operation Fast and Furious:

"Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ were confined to the Department of Justice," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement.

"The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn't the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” Buck said.


BREAKING: 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 assert Executive Privilege for all Operation Fast and Furious documents according to Chairman Issa's press secretary Becca Watkins. Regardless, the vote will move forward. If President Obama decides to invoke executive privilege, it is an indication that President Obama was involved in Operation Fast and Furious, which he has boldly denied. President Obama said as early as last week he stood with "full faith and confidence" next to Attorney General in his handling of the Fast and Furious scandal.

UPDATE: Fox News is reporting President Obama has granted Holder's request:

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.

UPDATE II: From the DOJ letter dated June 20, 2011 (today) to Chairman Issa regarding executive privilege.

After you rejected the Department's recent offers of additional accomidations, you stated that the Committee intents to proceed with its scheduled meeting to consider a resoltuiotn citing the Attorney General for contempt for failing to comply with the Committee's subpoena of October 11, 2011. I write to inform you that the President has asserted exective privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents.


UPDATE III: Letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to White House asking for executive privilege dated June 19, 2012, yesterday, which was when Holder refused to turn over documents:

I am writing to request that you assert executive privilege with respect to confidential Department of Justice documents that are responsive to the subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the Unted States House of Representatives on October 25, 2011. The subpoena relates to the Committee's investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

The date of Holder's letter to President Obama is very significant because it shows Holder asked for executive privilege last night, before today's contempt vote.




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