White House Invokes Executive Privilege on ‘Fast and Furious’ Docs
Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- The White House has invoked executive privilege over documents at the center of the stand-off between Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigating the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” program.
“The President has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote Issa Wednesday morning. “We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious.”
The move comes ahead of an expected committee vote on whether to put Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the documents. It is the first time President Obama has asserted executive privilege in a dispute with Congress.
Issa and Republicans on the committee have been seeking as yet undisclosed information on how the Justice Department responded to the unfolding scandal surrounding the Fast and Furious program that allegedly allowed U.S. weapons to cross the border into Mexico in order to track gun runners. One of the weapons was later found to be used in the shooting death of a U.S. border patrol agent.
Holder has said the Department has provided “extraordinary” access to documents and administration officials to answer questions about the incident. The committee says it has not received sufficient information to determine whether officials participated in a cover up.
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