An extraordinary House committee hearing began considering a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday even though President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over documents sought by the panel investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting….
The White House 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.
In a letter to Obama seeking the assertion of executive privilege, Holder said the documents involved related to the Justice Department's "response to congressional oversight and related media inquiries," and that release of internal executive branch documents would have "significant, damaging consequences."
Holder also said releasing the documents would "inhibit the candor of executive branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the ability of the executive branch to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight."
A separate Justice Department letter to Issa made public minutes before the committee meeting was scheduled to begin Wednesday said Obama "has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents."
As the New York Times notes, this is the first time Obama has chosen to assert the vague bullshit claim of "executive privilege" to save his lackeys' necks.
Radley Balko advised Obama here at Reason back in 2008 to swear off executive privilege entirely. Unfortunately, and it's always unfortunate if you don't heed Balko, Obama has given in to temptation.