Four years later, Obama waives privilege claim on Fast and Furious docs

Facing a court-ordered deadline to appeal a ruling turning down President Obama's request of executive privilege over a congressional subpoena for documents relating to the Fast and Furious investigation, the White House turned over thousands of pages of evidence to congressional investigators.


In her ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson did not turn down Obama's privilege assertion on the merits. Instead, she said authorized public disclosures about the operation in a Justice Department inspector general report essentially mooted the administration's drive to keep the records secret.

Both sides had until midnight Friday to file an appeal. Instead, the Obama administration turned over a set of documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"In light of the passage of time and other considerations, such as the Department's interest in moving past this litigation and building upon our cooperative working relationship with the Committee and other Congressional committees, the Department has decided that it is not in the Executive Branch's interest to continue litigating this issue at this time," Justice Deparment legislative liaison Peter Kadzik wrote in a letter Friday to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush confirmed that the administration does not plan to appeal. He argued that Jackson's ruling validated Obama's initial claim of privilege.

“The Department of Justice is pleased that the district court ... continued to recognize that the deliberative process component of the executive privilege exists and was a valid basis for the Department to withhold certain documents when requested by the House in 2011. Although the Department disagrees with the district court's conclusion that the privilege was overcome in this particular case by disclosures and statements made in other contexts, the Department has decided not to appeal the court’s judgment and has provided a production of documents to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform," Rodenbush said in a statement.

So the president's plan played out perfectly.  Stonewall Congress by refusing to turn over documents, allow the legal system to drag out the proceedings for years, and then hand the documents over when it's too late for Republicans to do much about it.

Those guns involved in the scandal keep showing up at murder scenes in Mexico and the U.S.  The Obama administration tries to make it appear that this scandal is in the past.  But the reality is, human beings are still dying as a result of the incompetence of ATF and the Justice Department, and we're still looking for the truth to hold those responsible for the violence to account.


Rep. Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is saying that the Department of Justice did not turn over all the subpoened documents:

"Today, under court order, DOJ turned over some of the subpoenaed documents," House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a statement late Friday. "The committee, however, is entitled to the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit. Accordingly, we have appealed the District Court's ruling in order to secure those additional documents."

A U.S. District Court judge had ruled in January that the Obama administration could not claim executive privilege to keep from making these files public. The Justice Department was given another 60 days to turn over the information.

"As we've long asserted, the committee requires and is entitled to these documents. They are critical to the committee's efforts to complete meaningful oversight. The committee has a duty to understand and shine light on what was happening inside DOJ during the time of this irresponsible operation," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz cited no specific documents that DoJ refused to turn over, so for the moment, all we have is his word that the Obama administration is still dragging its feet.  It will be up to the federal judge to determine if Chaffetz is on a fishing expedition or the Obama administration is continuing to obstruct the investigation.