Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting, according to a letter to the panel Wednesday from Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole.
The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.
“I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents,” Cole wrote in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California.
“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,” Cole continued. “Although we are deeply disappointed that the committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the department remains willing to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.”
FoxNews: Obama grants Holder request on ‘Furious’ documents as contempt vote looms
President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Holder by Republicans in the House.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge ahead Wednesday morning with its meeting on the contempt resolution anyway.
If the vote proceeds, Republicans have more than enough votes on committee to pass the resolution. However, Holder would not be considered held in contempt of Congress unless and until the full House approves the measure.
The move by Holder and Obama to lock down some requested documents only complicates the fight over the botched anti-gunrunning operation between the legislative and executive branches.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/20/house-republicans-tee-up-imminent-contempt-vote-against-holder/#ixzz1yLNLfpcq
FLASHBACK: Attacked Trying ‘To Hide Behind Executive Privilege’
GRASSLEY: ASSERTION ‘RAISES MONUMENTAL QUESTIONS’
Justice Department officials on Wednesday said President Obama has asserted executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee in an investigation of the botched “Fast and Furious” operation.
The last-minute move came just prior to the start of a scheduled hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a contempt on Congress citation against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who has refused since October to honor a committee subpoena seeking the documents.
In a letter to Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, a Justice Department official said the privilege applies to documents that explain how the department learned there were problems with the investigation, which allowed more than 2,000 weapons to be “walked” to drug smugglers in Mexico.
Issa to Holder: Get ready for contempt vote
House Republicans are charging head first into their most direct conflict with President Barack Obama’s administration over the extent of executive branch power, as they prepare to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress on Wednesday.
Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) failed to reach an agreement on what documents the administration would fork over to help Republicans investigate the Fast and Furious program, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives operation that put guns into the hands of Mexican cartels.