Hours before a vote in the House to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress, the President has invoked executive privilege as a reason not to turn over relevant documents. Whatever the reason, it only serves to make the administration look worse.
The obvious implication is that the President has something to hide that would be damaging if it were made public. Was there Oval Office involvement in Fast & Furious, or is Obama simply protecting a friend and political ally? Or does the guy just feel like throwing a cog into the works? In any case, it smacks of arrogance.
I guess we can forget about the whole doctrine of transparency this administration touted so vocally in its early stages.
The documents in question concern internal communications between the White House and the Attorney General's office from February 2011 to present. It's worth recalling that the President was issuing denials about the operation in March, while the Attorney General told Congress he had no knowledge of it until April or so.
Holder's defense is that he has already been more than forthcoming, having turned over an "extraordinary" amount of internal documents. He may have been, but he has provided only a fraction of those demanded by subpoena, and in one notable case, his department has been caught lying to Congress.
Perhaps he feels that some of the documents in question might jeopardize open investigations. That could be so, but he's had over a year to brief Congress and work that out. Instead, he's done nothing but stonewall.
Now he's at the 11th hour, and a vote to hold him in contempt looms this afternoon. One hopes this would force Holder's hand, but as of this morning, he's got protection from on high, so I doubt it will do much good.
Worse yet, the steam is running out on this investigation as we get closer to November. If the administration can drag things on for a couple more months, this whole matter will be forgotten in the leadup to the election, and I doubt there will be much interest in rekindling it under a new administration.
None of which spells justice for the victims or punishment for the people responsible.