'How Can The President Assert Executive Privilege If There Was NO White House Involvement?'
Iowa's Grassley responds to Obama's executive privilege move on 'Fast and Furious'
Attorney General Eric Holder facing contempt charges
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Dept says that President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege to withhold documents a House committee is seeking in an investigation of a flawed gun-smuggling probe.
In a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a Justice Department official said the privilege applies to documents that explain how the department learned that there were problems with the investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.
"The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions," Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a statement released Wednesday shortly after the president's move. "How can the President assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the President exert executive privilege over documents he's supposedly never seen? Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme? The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances. The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it's never repeated again.”
Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has previously called a Justice Department investigation into the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning operation “botched.”
Tuesday, Grassley told the Daily Caller that Attorney General Eric Holder is looking for a “free pass” on the issue.
Before the White House exerted executive privilege today, Grassley expressed frustration with the Obama administration’s actions.
“The attorney general wants to trade a briefing and the promise of delivering some small, unspecified set of documents tomorrow for a free pass today,” Grassley told the Daily Caller on Tuesday. “He wants to turn over only what he wants to turn over and not give us any information about what he’s not turning over. That’s unacceptable. I’m not going to buy a pig in a poke. Chairman Issa is right to move forward to seek answers about a disastrous government operation.”
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