President Asserts Executive Privilege in Bid to Forestall Contempt Vote

The New York Times, 6/20/2012

President Obama on Wednesday invoked executive privilege to withhold from a Congressional oversight committee some documents and communications among his advisers regarding the failed gun enforcement operation known as “Fast and Furious,” in which weapons purchased in the United States were allowed to cross into Mexico.

It was the first time since Mr. Obama took office that he has asserted the privilege, and it sharpened considerably the long-festering dispute between Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Representative Darrell Issa of California, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee…

Republicans immediately denounced the president’s action.

“Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding Fast and Furious were confined to the Department of Justice. 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,” said Michael Steel, the spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.”The administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?”

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