WH asserts executive privilege over Fast & Furious docs
Maneuver sets up showdown between legislative and executive branches
- Duration 9:36
- Date Jun 20, 2012
Maneuver sets up showdown between legislative and executive branches
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So I've got breaking news on America's news and right now and we are watching this very closely.
What has happened is that the attorney general requested that the White House.
Make available executive privilege basically to prevent them from needing to turn in the documents that were subpoenaed.
Of them by Darrell ice and his house investigative committee.
And that has been signed off on by the White House now so that is the big bit of information that has just come through the request from attorney general Eric Holder.
That these documents that were requested be under executive privilege so that they would not have to turn them over and the White House has indeed.
Put that executive privilege on those documents and that's how we started brand new hour now America's Newsroom lot going on this morning on -- comic.
Now and I'm Bill Hemmer good morning this eleventh hour meeting between the attorney general and -- chairman Darrell ice that fell flat.
Twenty minutes no deal no documents.
This just in now from the attorney general Eric Holder.
And here's what it says.
I respectfully request that you assert executive privilege over the identified.
Document -- William margin -- first to Los Angeles and William.
Who has covered this story of the very beginning what does this mean William.
-- the bill it.
It means that we're gonna have a big showdown between the executive legislative branches because we do expect.
Shortly that the house oversight committee will indeed approve the contempt citation.
And then we'd be because they have the votes it's 22 to sixteen Republican Democrat we do expect.
Possibly one democratic crossover and then of course we have the house speaker to.
Had that contempt citation acted upon by the full house and that would be referred then to US attorney who is obligated to take it to a grand jury.
They definitely increase -- stakes here they have not reached the agreement last night.
I will tell you that it looking this -- two letters basically that we received the last ten minutes.
One of them is a request from the attorney general to the president asking that executive privilege be granted and the second one.
From a deputy attorney general to generalize the -- that indeed the president has approved executive privilege.
Post February 4 these -- deliberative documents that relate to the possible cover up.
By the attorney general's office -- -- was this the trump card that Eric Holder and in his pocket the entire time.
You know I suppose so I mean the investigators that I spoken to have said all along if this was.
In this and if there was nothing in these documents.
They believe that he -- turned them over he would not have said that because that the general subpoena.
Related to a lot of areas that were covered under.
That we're investigative documents may have heard an ongoing investigation.
-- -- have basically said out of those 80000 documents we don't want all those we only want thirteen hundred documents related to that letter that was produced to congress that was later rescinded.
That had to do with denying that it existed and then admitting.
That it did in the they had to recall that letter.
Will those documents related to this quote deliberative process many didn't believe that it was that serious.
The attorney general and the executive branch feel that it is and they're standing on principle and exerting this program.
William thank you William lodge -- -- short order there in Los Angeles now you wonder if the content vote continues are not in the house will stand by on that as well here's mark.
Steven Hayes is a senior writer for the weekly standard -- a Fox News contributor and he joins me now Steve what's your reaction this.
Going until I agree with William -- and I think this -- this really raises the stakes it makes it a much bigger issue.
I think from the perspective of the Obama administration you had an issue that hasn't gotten -- kind of national attention.
Or at least consistent national attention across the mainstream media.
That I think it should have.
This ensures that that's going to happen I mean now this will be covered by having everybody because any time you have.
-- the executive department of asserting executive privilege but executive branch asserting executive privilege.
That's a big deal and I think this means that we will now have a national debate about the this specific case -- about executive privilege more broadly.
Yeah and you know when he gets the heart of what -- ice and his committee have been asking for Steve.
They wanted to know how this happened how did 2000 guns walk across the border as part of a program.
Then they were lost track -- had ATF agents who are screaming to high heaven that there was a huge problem here and that they wanted this program to be stopped.
Their their cries were not listened to and then have a border agent who was killed and one of these -- as bad scene.
And what -- ice and is can enable it wanted to know is who know.
About this what levels did this go up to and it raises the big question whether or not there is a cover up and doesn't this -- That concern when these documents are so held closely that they are now under executive privilege at the request of the attorney general.
-- I think it does and in part because it's not like we've seen from the Obama administration a longstanding case on behalf of executive brief power and -- In the Bush Administration remember you had -- members of bush administration's senior bush officials like Dick Cheney.
Who had you know literally decades worth of of for philosophical arguments on behalf of a strong executive and it is and asserting.
An executive branch that asserted itself over the legislative -- you haven't seen that.
From the Obama administration consistently going back three and a half years -- you have seen the Obama administration I think takes some liberties with executive power.
But this was not you know Barack Obama was not in 2006 and 2007 as a member of the senate.
Arguing about in favor of a strong a strong executive so there's not these sort of principal argument that they can look back and say look we've been making this case all along that raises then the question.
Is there something specific that they're trying to keep from -- license from the investigators.
I mean I don't know how you avoid that notion day in the -- I mean -- -- been specific documents that are requested and basically they impression that you get is that there's been a lot of documents.
That number 7600.
Documents has been thrown -- -- so many times in nine hearings that Eric Holder has.
Participated in in front of this committee right and yet you you have this frustration level from -- -- -- that this is not what we requested in the subpoena.
I mean I'm you know you imagine this subpoena and has specific twenty -- I believe or something like that that they're looking for dated documents exchanges in -- all that kind I think that that they haven't gotten so now.
You know it is extraordinary length bring an executive print privilege to say.
We don't have to ever.
Turn over those documents and it just raises a huge number of questions.
It doesn't again I think because the Obama administration doesn't have a history.
Asserting a strong executive power or making the principal claim that that they believe -- -- strong executive power.
Back complicates their case.
But looking the other the other thing that needs to be said here is that there Eliza has been requesting these documents for quite some time as you say this is not a sort of fishing expedition.
These are specific requests for specific documents I think he knows what he wants to get.
He knows what investigators are looking for and I think this all stems from the fact.
That -- -- Justice Department officials both of testimony and documents that have been produced to date.
But offered conflicting understanding of what actually took place and the only way to resolve those conflicts is either to get the full story from Eric Holder and others or -- get.
Some contemporaneous account of what happened from these documents when they were written.
And -- big question is -- you know you would think if there's nothing and that if they don't prove any connection and they don't prove that Eric Holder or anybody you know at his level or above him knew about -- It you know then you would think you wanna turn a lover and then their biggest issue is that they weren't you know sort of keeping an eye on everything that was a lot of the department maybe it would have to deal with that.
At that time but -- many other ways that they've that they've dealt with this has to say that their own investigation is ongoing.
And it's been ongoing for quite some time and that when they're done with their internal investigation -- DOJ.
They say then you know -- heads might roll people might get fired and things might come out right.
Yeah but look I mean -- you know you have the attorney general who's made conflicting statements in congressional testimony mean.
Things that I think you have to give him the benefit and adapted to believe that he wasn't straight out.
Not telling the truth so.
You know I don't think anybody has any confidence that the Justice Department's own investigation is going to uncover these things that they're going to be forthcoming.
About what's in these documents that you know they the key point I think think back to to the Bush Administration the first days of the Bush Administration.
When you had Dick Cheney the vice president's office running this energy this energy study group.
And refusing to provide documents to Henry Waxman was then running the oversight committee will Dick Cheney.
It's set at the time we don't care that you're asking for these documents this is the proper function of the executive -- we can't have you looking into.
Every meeting that we have with every person who comes to the White House.
-- and by the way I've been making this argument I Dick Cheney have been making this argument on behalf of executive power.
For thirty years -- you don't have with President Obama or with Eric Holder is.
Argument looking back over the years to say we've been talking about a strong executive and therefore we're relying on principle now.
When you're making this claim and I think that gives rise to questions.
What is it that they don't want the investigator.
Actually very critical the bush administration for -- know -- -- expanding in their mind.
Executive power they claim that they would never do that that that that they want to be very transparent in their own administration so we'll see where this close ST thank you very much.