Breaking: Subpoena Sent To DOJ And Eric Holder Over Gunwalking

No print stories out yet, will link when they are up.

An interesting point is that if Holder claims “executive privilege,” that means that he discussed the issue with the President. Meaning he lied to Congress, and that Obama knows about the whole program.

Here we go:

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a subpoena Wednesday to Attorney General Eric Holder as part of his investigation into the gun trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

“Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged,” the California Republican said in a statement. “The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It’s time we know the whole truth.”

The subpoena seeks, among other things, all communications regarding the operation from 16 top Justice officials, including Holder, his chief of staff, Gary Grindler, and the head of the department’s criminal division, Lanny Breuer, as well as correspondence on specific dates to and from the former head of the ATF’s Phoenix field division, William Newell.

It also asks for all documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, including any correspondence outlining the details of Zapata’s mission at the time he was murdered.

How quickly will Obama throw Holder under his big shiny bus?

Michelle Malkin has the full press release from Darrell Issa.

Ed Morrissey: So what’s next?  Presumably Holder will fight the subpoena in court, but he’s going to have to claim executive privilege to quash it — and that opens up a real can of worms.  So far there has been no direct connection to Barack Obama to Fast and Furious, but in order to shield communications from people on this list, the administration will have to claim that it will infringe on Obama’s ability to get advice on this subject — which will mean an admission that Obama was involved in it.

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11 Responses to “Breaking: Subpoena Sent To DOJ And Eric Holder Over Gunwalking”

  1. captainfish says:

    Damn right Obama was involved.
    Go get em ISSA!!!!

  2. gitarcarver says:

    I am not sure, but I thought the Supreme Court ruled back in Watergate days that “Executive Privilege” did not apply when there was a criminal action involved.

    Lawyers lose their attorney client privilege when they actively participate in a criminal endeavor, so I am not sure that Holder can claim the same.

    When Congress sought to obtain White House tapes containing Oval Office conversations, Nixon refused to turn them over, claiming that the tapes were subject to absolute executive privilege and asserting that the judiciary had no authority to order their production or inspection. Eventually the dispute reached the Supreme Court, where, in united states v. nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 94 S. Ct. 3090, 41L. Ed. 2d 1039 (1974), the Court ruled against Nixon. While acknowledging the importance of the president’s claims, the Court stated that “neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the need for confidentiality of high level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.” In its opinion, therefore, the Court explicitly recognized the president’s authority to assert executive privilege but ruled that the use of executive privilege is limited, not absolute. Furthermore, the Court maintained that the judiciary, not the president, has the power to determine the applicability of executive privilege. While the Court affirmed the use of executive privilege, therefore, it determined that in this case, the right of the U.S. people to full disclosure outweighed the president’s right to secrecy. This momentous decision soon led to Nixon’s resignation from the office of president.

    And from the case US v. Nixon itself:

    However, neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. The President’s need for complete candor and objectivity from advisers calls for great deference from the courts. However, when the privilege depends solely on the broad, undifferentiated claim of public interest in the confidentiality of such conversations, a confrontation with other values arises. Absent a claim of need to protect military, diplomatic, or sensitive national security secrets, we find it difficult to accept the argument that even the very important interest in confidentiality of Presidential communications is significantly diminished by production of such material for in camera inspection with all the protection that a district court will be obliged to provide.

    The impediment that an absolute, unqualified privilege would place in the way of the primary constitutional duty of the Judicial Branch to do justice in criminal prosecutions would plainly conflict with the function of the courts under Art. III. In designing the structure of our Government and dividing and allocating the sovereign power among three co-equal branches, the Framers of the Constitution sought to provide a comprehensive system, but the separate powers were not intended to operate with absolute independence.

    The rules for “executive privilege” change when you are talking about criminal actions which the Fast and Furious program appears to have been. (“Appears” is used only because no court has ruled it illegal yet.)

    Even the President cannot stand in the way of a valid subpoena in a criminal case.

  3. gitarcarver says:

    As a side note, am I the only one that finds “tweeting” an announcement like this from a government official a little off-putting and trite?

    It may be just me.

  4. captainfish says:

    Meh. It’s the new form of communication. Either it is tweeted or sent out in a media announcement.

    However, I for one want to hear any time a corrupt pol is taken to task.

  5. Yeah, it does seem a bit unprofessional, but, in today’s media, it’s normal, especially since Issa tweets a lot to get his message out. Lots of people would only see the information due to the tweet. Consider that the majority of news outlets aren’t even mentioning what is actually pretty big news. A perusal of CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, ABC News, Washington Post, NY Times, and a few others shows no mention on their front pages. Politico is the only one that mentions it down in the middle of the page.

    Imagine had this been Bush’s AG and DOJ: the media would be all over it. Now? Be lucky if it gets a mention.

  6. gitarcarver says:

    Yeah, it does seem a bit unprofessional, but, in today’s media, it’s normal, especially since Issa tweets a lot to get his message out.

    I know it is the “way things work today.” I get that. 🙂

    I just can’t imagine the Federalist Papers and the surrounding debate at 140 characters a shot. 😉

  7. Oh, that’s easy: “The government that governs least governs best #TCOT”

  8. captainfish says:

    and.. that’s what Email Blasts are for…. ugh

  9. mojo says:

    Holder isn’t Obama’s lawyer – he’s the USA’s lawyer. The President has his own legal counsel.

    So, no privilege.

  10. Remember when The One told Mrs. Bradley that they were working onguncontrol,but that it was “under the radar”?

    Things that make you go hmmmmmm.

  11. gitarcarver says:


    Executive privilege is similar to that of client attorney, but it is not the same thing.

    Executive privilege is that things that happen within the Executive branch may be retained by only the Executive branch and are not subject to Congressional subpoena. The term was first used by Eisenhower, but has been a part of the executive branch since George Washington.

    Part of the idea of the “separation of powers” is that each branch operates autonomously. If the Legislative branch can demand anything from the Executive branch, it throws out that balance.

    All bets are off when the Executive branch acts in a criminal manner. That is the gist of US v. Nixon. Ultimately, the Supreme Court has ruled that it, as a matter of law, can determine what the Executive Branch has to produce, but the Nixon ruling is clear the Executive branch cannot claim “privilege” in an investigation by the Congress where there is alleged criminal or treasonous activity.

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