Executive prerogative

President Obama has decided to exert executive privilege over all the documents under subpoena by the House committee investigating the Gunwalker scandal. Eric Holder justifies his withholding of the documents thus:

They were not generated in the course of the conduct of Fast and Furious. Instead, they were created after the investigative tactics at issue in that operation had terminated and in the course of the Department’s deliberative process concerning how to respond to congressional and related media inquiries into that operation.

I believe Holder’s description is accurate. More to the point, the documents under subpoena are not about the original Gunwalker malfeasance, but about the Justice Department’s cover-up. Rep. Issa wants to know who decided to lie to Congress in the DOJ’s February 2011 letter denying that any gunwalking had taken place.

UPDATE: John Hinderaker looks at the case law on executive privilege and finds that Obama’s claim is unlikely to hold up.

By placing these documents under executive privilege, President Obama is essentially saying that lying to Congress is an executive prerogative.

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