WHITE HOUSE SEALS OVER 10,000 FAST AND FURIOUS DOCUMENTS! IS THIS A ADMISSION OF GUILT?
could be held in contempt of Congress over Fast and Furious
President Obama has taken the rare
step of claiming executive privilege to withhold documents sought by lawmakers
probing a botched US sting operation.
The attorney general is facing moves to hold him in contempt of Congress over
Justice officials said the privilege applied to files on how they learned of
problems with Fast and Furious.
The operation saw US agents lose track of hundreds of illegal guns allowed
into Mexico to trace arms dealers.
A US border agent was killed with a weapon linked to the operation in
This is the first use of executive privilege for withholding documents by Mr
Obama. Former Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton used the privilege six
and 14 times respectively during their eight-year terms.
The Department of Justice says it has denied access to the files because they
contain information that could affect ongoing criminal investigations.
Its officials say they have already sent more than 7,000 documents to the
Republican-led House Oversight Committee.
accused the Department of Justice of failing to co-operate
"I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive
privilege over the relevant... documents," Deputy Attorney General James Cole
wrote to the lawmakers.
Wednesday's contempt vote looms a day after a meeting between Attorney
General Eric Holder and committee chairman, Representative Darrell Issa, failed
to end the impasse.
Mr Holder said lawmakers had turned down his offer to give them the
documents, along with a briefing on the operation, in exchange for assurances
that the panel would drop contempt proceedings.
"They rejected what I thought was an extraordinary offer on our part," he
told reporters on Tuesday.
End Quote Elijah Cummings Democratic Congressman
You've been holding the attorney general to an impossible
But Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who is not on
the committee but attended the meeting, cast doubt on Mr Holder's version.
"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," he
On Wednesday, the office of Republican House Speaker John Boehner said use of
executive privilege raised questions about the White House's involvement with
the gun probe.
"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," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr Boehner, told
The committee's top Democrat, Representative Elijah Cummings, accused Mr Issa
of having "no interest" in resolving the dispute.
"You've been holding the attorney general to an impossible standard," he told
"You accused him of a cover-up for protecting documents that he is prohibited
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