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The White House Can't Hide Behind Executive Privilege


Location: Washington, DC

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on a contempt of Congress resolution for Attorney General Eric Holder, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today released a new video in which former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) breaks down why the Obama White House cannot legally assert executive privilege to shield documents related to Operation Fast and Furious from Congress and the American people. Minutes before the Oversight Committee began debate on the contempt resolution last Wednesday, the White House asserted deliberative executive privilege over the documents sought by Congress.

"The reason we have privileges is to protect the relationships…No privilege is absolute. Every privilege can be defeated, and usually they can be defeated by an indication of criminal conduct," said Rep. Gowdy in the video. "There was a demonstrably false letter sent from the Department of Justice on DoJ letterhead to a United States Senator and therefore to all of Congress. That letter was misleading, deceptive, and provably wrong. We are seeking the documents that would help us understand how a letter that materially false could be drafted, approved, delivered to a United States Senator. That's the information that Congress was seeking. The White House and the Department of Justice are seeking to prevent us from getting that information by asserting that third tier, lowest level, weakest form of executive privilege. Keep in mind, it doesn't apply when Congress wants the information, and it doesn't cover up allegations of wrongdoing and misconduct, which is exactly what that February 4th letter was."

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