Breaking this morning, The whole “Eric Holder/Darrell Issa Contempt of Congress” thing has been blown up by the White House citing executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, the first time the Obama administration has resorted to the common Bush-era tactic.
President Obama asserted executive privilege over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” operation Wednesday as a House panel moved to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt after he failed to hand over documents related to a congressional inquiry into the scandal.
In a letter sent to Obama late Tuesday, Holder urged Obama to exert executive privilege, because sharing internal documents with lawmakers could “have significant, damaging consequences.”
Sharing the documents “would inhibit candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch’s ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight,” Holder wrote to Obama.
In response, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said at the start of Wednesday’s hearing that he learned of Obama’s decision early Wednesday and said the move “falls short of any reason to delay today’s proceedings.”
In other words, Issa’s going ahead with the contempt vote anyway. The fact of the matter is that Rep. Darrell Issa has increasingly asked for more and more documents with the intent of hounding Eric Holder and nothing has changed. It remains a vendetta to impeach POTUS by proxy. Five things you must know about Issa and his mad-on, from Ian Millhiser at Think Progress:
1. Issa Has No Case: Issa’s uncovered no evidence showing Holder bears any blame for the botched operations begun under George W. Bush, even though the Justice Department turned over thousands of pages of documents concerning the operations. Instead of accepting this fact, Issa has requested many more documents containing confidential information regarding ongoing law enforcement investigations, and is now threatening to hold Holder in contempt if these documents are not turned over. Holder is entirely correct to withhold these documents, however, because Justice Department documents are not subject to congressional subpoena if they would reveal “strategies and procedures that could be used by individuals seeking to evade [DOJ’s] law enforcement efforts.”
2. Reagan’s Justice Department Agreed With Holder: President Reagan’s Justice Department warned in the 1980s that the Constitution’s separation of powers prevents the kind of documents Issa is seeking from being revealed to Congress because of the risk that the legislature could “exert pressure or attempt to influence the prosecution of criminal cases.”
3. Law Enforcement Rejects Issa’s Witchhunt: Issa’s efforts to embarrass Holder are an unnecessary distraction that hinders the Department of Justice’s ability to do its real job. As an organization representing numerous senior law enforcement officials warned Issa, his efforts are “an impediment to the vigorous enforcement of violence and crime.”
4. Even Top Republicans Think Issa Goes Too Far: After Issa leaked his plans to pursue contempt charges to the media, the House Republican leadership pressured him to back off. Indeed, even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has indicated that Issa is overreaching.
5. Issa Is Fixated On A Conspiracy Theory: Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this affair is what Issa once suggested his investigation will uncover. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Issa claimed that the Obama administration “made a crisis” when they continued the Bush-era gunrunning operations because they wanted to “us[e] this crisis to somehow take away or limit people’s Second Amendment rights.” This accusation originates from a former militiaman who supports violent resistance to imagined government attempts to seize his guns. And it amounts to an accusation that a series of botched gun stings that begun during the Bush Administration were actually part of a secret Obama plot to release guns to Mexican drug lords, so that those guns could then be used to kill federal agents, which would then cause a national uprising in support of gun control.
None of this has changed with the White House now protecting Holder because Issa gave them no choice. Holder sat down with Issa to make a deal and Issa brushed him off. Issa will not stop until Holder resigns, or is forced to turn some sort of evidence against the President. It’s a massive delusion Issa is under.
And now the Republicans will scream DICTATOR for a while, and then this story dies, hopefully. But remember, it’s all about Issa’s lunatic hatred.
[UPDATE] Judging from the comments, the wingers are so desperate it’s bordering on dousing themselves in gasoline and juggling blowtorches.