On February 4th, 2011 the Obama Justice Department sent a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, denying that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms had been facilitating the sale of guns to Mexican drug cartels through the Fast and Furious program. Ten months later, the Obama DOJ admitted that letter was false.
On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress that he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.” Confronted with emails showing that this testimony was false, Holder claimed he misspoke saying, “I should probably have said a couple of months.”
Then on June 12, Holder testified before Congress that then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey, had been briefed about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver in 2008. But yesterday, the Department of Justice issued another letter to Grassley, again admitting that Holder’s testimony was false. This time they claimed that Holder “inadvertently” made that claim about Mukasey to the Committee.
To put it generously, Attorney General Eric Holder does not have a sterling track record when it comes to telling the truth.
Which is why House Government Reform and Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., had every right to vote out a contempt of Congress citation against Holder yesterday, after Holder refused to turn over documents related to DOJ’s Fast and Furious deliberations. President Obama’s decision to claim the documents are covered by executive privilege only elevates issue and makes it a larger distraction for the White House.
Obama’s decision to invoke executive privilege does not mean he is admitting he was personally involved in Fast and Furious. The Supreme Court has recognized a lighter form of executive privilege called “deliberative process” which protects communications between executive branch officials. But invoking executive privilege is not a get out of jail free card either. Assuming the House follows through with a contempt vote next week, Issa would then be able to sue Holder in federal court to produce the documents. At that point Holder would then assert executive privilege as a defense.
This case is nowhere near being resolved. And we will not be much closer to a resolution by November of this year. The only way we ever will get to a point where a court would order an Obama administration to turn over the documents, is if Obama gets a second term. About that same time, the courts will also be deciding whether or not Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are unconstitutional. Court challenges are sure to follow on Obama’s No Child Left Behind waivers and just about everything the Environmental Protection Agency does.
In the face of a conservative Congress, Obama has rejected compromise and instead insisted on testing the boundaries of executive power. Unless Democrats win control of the House this November, these battles will only increase in 2013. As the Fast and Furious investigation shows, a second Obama term would consist of little other than long drawn out court battles between the Executive Branch and Congress.
Do Americans really think that is a recipe for economic growth?
Obama: President Obama spent more money than he raised in May, but ended the month with a $109.7 million in cash reserves — a more than 6-to-1 advantage over his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
Romney: After three straight questions about immigration on a conference call with reporters that was supposed to be about the economy, the Romney campaign ended the call.
Polls: A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows fewer Americans believe the economy is getting better and a majority disapproves of how President Barack Obama is handling it. But AP has Obama up over Romney 47 percent to 44 percent among registered voters.
Florida: A new Quinnipiac University poll of shows Obama beating Romney in Florida 46 percent to 42 percent.
Around the Bigs
ABC News, Murdered Border Agent’s Family Says President Obama ‘Compounding This Tragedy’ with Executive Privilege Assertion: The family of slain U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, who was killed with guns tied to the Fast and Furious program, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon accusing President Obama of compounding their family tragedy by invoking executive privilege. “Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to fully disclose the documents associated with Operation Fast and Furious and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege serves to compound this tragedy. It denies the Terry family and the American people the truth,” a statement released by family attorney Pat McGroder said.
The Wall Street Journal, Fed Warns of Risk to Economy: The Fed said Wednesday it would extend through the end of the year a program known as “Operation Twist,” which aims to drive down long-term interest rates and reduce borrowing costs for businesses and households. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made clear in a news conference after the policy makers’ meeting that he is prepared to take further action if he doesn’t see progress on bringing down unemployment, which was 8.2% in May.
The New York Times, Blacks Miss Out as Jobs Rebound in New York City: More than half of all of African-Americans and other non-Hispanic blacks in the city who were old enough to work had no job at all this year, according to an analysis of employment data compiled by the federal Labor Department.
The Los Angeles Times, Gov. Jerry Brown to scrap environmental exception for bullet train: After encountering criticism from environmental groups, Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Wednesday that he plans to withdraw his controversial proposal to protect the California bullet train project from injunctions sought by environmental lawsuits.
Bloomberg details how Congress could eliminate the corporate income tax.
Forbes columnist Avik Roy outlines how Romney will replace Obamacare.
RightChange has posted a parody video of Obama as “The most arrogant man in the world.”
Talking Points Memo‘s Evan McMorris-Santoro reports that labor groups in Wisconsin “plan to double down’ on the same tactics that failed to recall Gov. Scot Walker.
At The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen notes that invoking Executive Privilege does not necessarily mean Obama was personally involved in Fast and Furious.
National Journal‘s John Aloysius Farrell writes that Obama’s assertion of executive privilege is another sign of his “willingness to employ his presidential authority to circumvent Republican hostility and intransigence.”