Much more to say about this later, but I have to say one thing right now: I’m shocked that President Obama would assert executive privilege over a set of documents pertaining to the Fast & Furious scandal right now (unless, of course, they implicate the White House in ways that haven’t been clear to this point). Why shocked? Because his action pushes the scandal to the front pages and it ties his administration to something that they had heretofore managed to distance themselves from.
Obama does not want this to become an election year issue, yet his actions almost assure that it will be an issue. Sen. Grassley has it right:
“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,” he said.
“The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that it’s never repeated again,” he said.
This move signals that something is being covered up; if there is nothing to see in those papers, though, why would the President paint himself in such a light? It doesn’t help that Holder has made misleading statements in an attempt to shift some blame to the previous administration– a tactic that the administration continues to use in other situations to explain away their own failures.
In a second major retraction over its version of the the gun-walking scandal, the Justice Department has retracted Attorney General Eric Holder’s charge in a hearing last week that his Bush administration predecessor had been briefed on the affair.
In a memo just released by Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa senator reveals that Holder also didn’t apologize to former Attorney General Michael Mukasey for dragging him into the Fast & Furious scandal that is headed for a major legal clash and likely contempt of Congress charge against Holder.
According to Grassley’s memo, Justice said that Holder “inadvertently” made the charge against Mukasey in a hearing.
That sound you hear is Republicans thanking the President for handing over another powerful campaign issue– and you might also hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left as they realize that this is turning ugly.
If I might echo Vice President Biden for one moment: the Fast & Furious scandal is a big fucking deal.