Fast and Furious Cover-up: Obama Asserts Executive Privilege to Protect Himself
Jun 20, 2012
RUSH: I guess you have to know when to fold ’em and when to Holder ’em. I think I’m gonna start asserting executive privilege. I’m an executive. Kathryn asked me a question, “I’m assigning executive privilege, I don’t have to answer that.” News media asked me a question, “Executive privilege. I don’t have to answer that.”
Hi, folks. How are you? Great to have you here. Already hump day. The Excellence in Broadcasting Network. You know, here’s some irony — by the way, telephone number, 800-282-2882.
What was Fast and Furious? Look, I’m assuming everybody knows that Obama has asserted executive privilege to protect himself, not just Eric Holder, but to protect himself from being discovered somewhat, somehow, to be involved in this Fast and Furious. What was Fast and Furious? As simply put as I can make it, Fast and Furious was an American government program authored by the Obama administration to arm violent drug gangs in Mexico with American weapons from Arizona, primarily. Assault rifles and deadly weapons were purchased from gun stores in Arizona and walked across the border to Mexico on purpose. This resulted in the death of scores of people, including a man named Brian Terry, a border agent for our government.
Now, we all know what the purpose of this was. The purpose of this was to gin up anti-Amendment 2 sentiment among the people of this country. The objective was — and this is where the irony steps in — the objective was to have news stories where everybody was shocked and stunned and saddened, guns purchased by drug cartel members in America. Look how easy it was, end up in Mexico, owned by violent drug gangs, and used in the commission of heinous crimes. Why, our gun laws are too lax. The sentiment in this country among the people is to maintain the Second Amendment. The America people don’t want, by a vast majority, any gun control legislation. But that doesn’t matter to people like President Kardashian or Eric Holder or any of the Democrat Party or the left.
They don’t want you to have guns, and so it doesn’t matter about the Constitution and it doesn’t matter about the will of the American people. If they don’t want you to have guns they’re gonna try to find a way to make sure that you don’t. And that’s what Fast and Furious was, as simply put as I can make it. Obama has dragged this on for years. He has never had any intention to cooperate, nor has Holder. It was the arming of violent gangs in Mexico with American weapons purchased in American gun stores resulting in the death of scores of people. Obama has never explained the details of what occurred to anybody, not the media, not investigators, not Congress. He is the head of the executive branch, so he asserts executive privilege. Meanwhile, he pretends that he knew nothing, but he’s trying to protect himself.
Now, what triggered this today is also very simple. Darrell Issa’s congressional committee has been attempting to get documents from the Department of Justice to document this. And Eric Holder has refused to turn over the documents. They have been negotiating back and forth. There was a scheduled face-to-face meeting. Holder claims that he made one of the greatest offers in American history, to share information, the executive branch and the legislative branch. But here is the bottom line. The Department of Justice lied to Issa’s committee. February 4th, 2011, the Department of Justice — that’s Holder — sent a letter to Congress in which they stated that the allegation that ATF sanctioned or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers to begin transporting them to Mexico is false. That was a lie.
The DOJ sent a letter to Issa’s committee that was not true. In their letter, they said, “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.” Now, a member of Congress, Issa’s committee member, said, “We know that multiple people in the Department of Justice were involved in drafting this letter, and we know that their statement was false.” So the Department of Justice, where the law of this land is to be the most stringently administered, adhered, obeyed, enforced, lied to Congress. And that is what this controversy is all about. That’s why Issa wanted documents from Holder. It was Holder who called Obama either last night or today, asked for executive privilege, and Obama granted it.
Now, the irony of this is that the whole point of this operation was for all of this to become public except for Obama and Holder’s involvement, and for you to be so angry about it that you would demand tighter gun control laws. Well, now the whole thing has become public, and now they’ve gotta do everything they can to try to keep it under wraps. They wanted this thing public. They wanted the results of this brilliantly conceived, but it was not flawlessly executed, they botched the execution. Way too many people died. A border agent died on December 10th. And so now the Department of Justice, part of the executive branch, Eric Holder and Obama have claimed, well, Obama is the only one who can, has claimed executive privilege.
Now, look, folks, I’m not a lawyer. My dad was a lawyer out there. As far as I know, executive privilege has been traditionally asserted to either protect the president’s confidentiality, protect the executive branch’s autonomy — separation of powers — or, three, to protect state secrets. There may be other reasons, but those are the three reasons I’ve always understood for it. So which of those is behind Obama’s claim here? If the executive privilege is to protect confidentiality, then he’s admitting his involvement in Fast and Furious. If he says it’s to protect executive branch autonomy, should they have the kind of autonomy to do dangerous and illegal stunts like this? Now, I don’t know that Obama would have the nerve to invoke national security after leaking all the secrets they just leaked, but you never know.
Anything’s possible with this bunch. Charles Grassley, senator from Iowa, has issued a statement, and it’s pretty telling. (I’m getting it now.) His statement is this: “The assertion of executive privilege raises monumental questions. How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement?” That’s a pretty good question. Now, the executive branch includes the DOJ. But executive privilege..?
For example can Holder call Obama and say, “I want you to exert executive privilege for me” and have it not affect Obama? No. “How can the president assert executive privilege if there was no White House involvement? How can the president exert executive privilege over documents he has supposedly never seen?” That’s another thing Obama said. He’s never seen anything; he doesn’t know what’s going on.
“Is something very big being hidden to go to this extreme? The contempt citation is an important procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances,” says Grassley. “The questions from Congress go to determining what happened in a disastrous government program for accountability and so that itÂ’s never repeated again.” Well, that’s basically what this is all about. Again, something very, very simple.
On February 4th, 2011, the Department of Justice, Eric Holder, sent a letter to Congress in which they “said that the allegation that ‘ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms] “sanctioned”‘ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico — is false.'” They denied the program. They denied that Fast and Furious existed. They denied it in a February 4th 2011 letter to Congress. And in that letter they will say “ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that were purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”
Now, it’s known that multiple people in the Department of Justice were involved in drafting that letter. And Congress now says that the statements in the letter were false. You lie to Congress…? You know, ask Roger Clemens. You lie to Congress like this, whether you think these guys are hoity-toity and far more important in their own minds than they really are, the fact of the matter is when the executive branch starts lying to these guys, red flags go up, and this is exactly what happens.
So the congressional committee of Darrell Issa said, “We want everything you’ve got on this,” and Holder’s not gonna give it. Executive privilege. The White House is apparently now intent on hiding something. Obama’s involvement? Further details of the program? But I have to tell you, I’ve looked at the media on this. They’re gob-smacked. This is another thing. They were so out of touch. To them, Fast and Furious has been nothing more than a Tea Party, right-wing, extreme, conspiracy theory.
It’s been something they’ve laughed about. They’ve not bothered to inform themselves. To them, it’s just a joke. Fast and Furious is nothing more than a joke. It’s typical right-wing tinfoil hat people trying to get poor old Barack. And they’re shocked! They are shocked that Obama asserted executive privilege. Remember, the big assertion of executive privilege that went down the tubes was Nixon and Watergate. A lot of presidents have asserted executive privilege. I think Clinton did 14 times. Bush did six.
So it’s not uncommon. But the big one that led to the downfall of a president was Richard Nixon because the Supreme Court did not allow him to assert it before challenge. He lost the claim of executive privilege in Watergate. So they know what can happen. And they’re gob-smacked by this. They don’t know how to report this. They thought it was a joke, folks. They thought it was nothing more than the Martians had landed, that a bunch of people believed the Martians had landed.
Now they’re already having second and third thoughts about Obama. You got Frank Bruni (or Bruni, I don’t know how you pronounce his name) at the New York Times with a scathing review of Obama’s performance done at this G-20 summit. Obama looked totally outclassed, looked totally out of his element. He just looked like he had no business being there. It was embarrassing. No command whatsoever of his actions, of his presence. He seemed small. This is the New York Times describing Obama at the G-20.
Then you have this Neil Munro business. Then you have the leaks. You have Obama failing in the polls. You’ve got the Supreme Court might do away with Obamacare. They, in 2008, never envisioned 1% of what’s happening here. I tell you, Fast and Furious they thought was a joke, and here’s Obama asserting executive privilege. It sounded like “Angrier” Mitchell. “Well, we didn’t have time to play the whole tape on Romney. Hee-hee-hee. Romney didn’t know what a scanner was!”
They, folks, are struggling with how to defend their guy. Now, they will. I don’t have any question. When they get hold of themselves, when the media gets hold, I’m gonna predict to you what’s gonna happen. They will argue that they are upholding long-honored tradition of protecting the internal process of the executive branch. That’s what the media will say about Obama. It’s part of the separation of powers doctrine.
They’ll argue that ongoing investigation and congressional interference could upset the executive process. They’ll be defended on this by the press. Don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying right now, the press thought this was nothing more than the birthers. They think the birthers a bunch of kooks; they think the Fast and Furious crowd’s a bunch of kooks. And now, with Obama asserting executive privilege, they think, “What are they trying to hide? It makes them uncomfortable.
RUSH: Let me tell you something, folks. This assertion of executive privilege just shows how important Fast and Furious was. You can’t claim it’s just some low-level, rogue operation and then go out and assert executive privilege. You don’t assert executive privilege for low-level operations. But it looks like President Kardashian is going to go the national security route. The Democrat apologist and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley was just on Fox News saying that the country…
By the way, he’s an administration mouthpiece. Listen to this. This a journalist, an historian, Douglas Brinkley, on Fox. He said, “The country can’t have our secret strategies about dealing with drug cartels out there in the public! We can’t have that.” Right. Issa would have immediately leaked all of our strategies in dealing with the drug cartels? Right. Issa would have leaked? This administration leaks like a sieve. Folks, it already is known what Fast and Furious was!
Maybe there’s much more to it that we don’t know, but we know what it was.
The regime armed violent gangs in Mexico. On purpose. The Obama administration wanted US assault rifles walked across the border by drug cartel members and used in the commission of their crimes. And then they wanted news stories saying, “Look at this! A Mexican drug cartel. Where’d they get their guns? America. It’s too easy. We’ve gotta tighten our gun laws. If these drug cartels can walk into a gun store in Phoenix and end up getting these assault weapons and go out and start killing people, why, our gun laws are too lax!”
That was the purpose here.
I know the regime was hoping to sweep Fast and Furious under the rug, and if they’re hoping to sweep it under the rug with this, they’ve done precisely the wrong thing. But I don’t know. Folks, this administration seems to be so incompetent, I don’t know how good they are at managing a cover-up. We’re gonna find out. We’ll find out if they’ve got what it takes to take what we’ve got. If they’ve got what it takes to manage a decent cover-up. I mean, even when they got the news media working on their side.
Obama demanded that Bush give Congress his exit strategy in Iraq. Obama was demanding Bush give away our timetable. And, by the way, we’ve got it. Coming up after the break we’ve got audio sound bite of Obama in 2007. He was on Larry King Alive, and he was criticizing the whole notion of executive privilege. He was saying that presidents ought not hide behind that. Bush had asserted executive privilege on something and be Obama was righteously offended by this and was highly critical of Bush using executive privilege. He said administrations ought not hide behind it.
And don’t forget Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News was yelled at and screamed at by Department of Justice members over her coverage of this story.
RUSH: Minor correction, ladies and gentlemen. Obama’s remarks on Larry King where he criticized executive privilege and suggested that presidents ought not hide behind it, that was in regard to a subpoena that would have required Karl Rove to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on their investigation of all those fired US attorneys. That’s what that was about. Now, we’ll get to all these sound bites just a second.
I want to really nail something here with the assistance of my buddy Andy McCarthy at PJMedia.com. Sheila Jackson Lee, earlier this morning, blamed Fast and Furious on Bush. Not the first time. And the Obama administration has a story, they have a narrative about this, and it was in the Wall Street Journal this morning. And this how we’re gonna nail ’em. So listen up. This is the regime’s narrative, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “The gun walking tactics in Fast and Furious turned up in earlier ATF cases during the Bush administration, when they were uncovered by Obama justice officials. A top justice official raised concerns with ATF officials. But the officials never alerted Eric Holder. They didn’t do enough to prevent similar cases. They weren’t aware the operation was underway until months later.”
So the Obama administration is saying it all started with Bush. If that’s the case, why not put these documents on public display? If it all started with Bush, why executive privilege? You know that Obama’s not reticent to blame Bush. Obama’s blaming Bush for the economy, along with Europe. If they want to try to hang this on Bush and they say they got documents to prove it, why won’t they release them? That would be the fastest way to embarrass Issa. It would be the fastest way to embarrass all of the conservative media that’s been pursuing this. But right there, the officials never alerted Holder. Bush started this, and Holder takes over, and nobody tells him about it. Poor Eric, he didn’t know anything about it, and certainly not enough to prevent similar cases. And they weren’t even aware the operation was underway until months after Obama was immaculated.
So Holder, in a letter to Darrell Issa, said, “The record in this matter reflects that until allegations about the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious are made public, department leadership was unaware.” So Holder told Issa, (paraphrasing) “I didn’t know this was going on. This started with Bush, and I didn’t know about it ’til after we got in here.” Again, I take you back, February 4th, 2011, Department of Justice sent a letter to Congress in which they stated that the allegation that ATF sanctioned or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to straw purchasers to begin transporting to Mexico is false. So in February of 2011 they denied there even was a Fast and Furious. Now they’re saying that it all started with Bush. Which is it? And then the letter further stated that ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally, prevent their transportation to Mexico. Issa’s committee knows that many people in the DOJ wrote that letter and that that statement in the letter was false.
So as my buddy Andy McCarthy says, let’s put aside for argument’s sake all these various things and let’s just assume that Obama’s administration narrative is true. If that’s what really happened, doesn’t Eric Holder deserve our commendation? Because he brought it to light. It all started in the Bush administration, all this gunrunning to Mexican drug cartels, Bush started that. If that’s the case, if that’s what really happened, what are the chances the administration can’t shovel national defense secrets out fast enough to the New York Times that would withhold a paper trail that covers Holder in glory? The Wall Street Journal has this narrative in it this morning that it started with Bush. And if that’s their story, why don’t they release the documents? Why don’t they make Holder a hero? He’s the one that called attention to it.
Now, this iteration of Fast and Furious began in October of 2009. That’s under Obama’s administration. Even if you only credit him with things done during the first fiscal year which began in October 2009, it’s still his baby, but they’re trying to bring it off on Bush. And if they want to do that, let the documents go. Don’t claim executive privilege. Here’s another thing. I mentioned Nixon. And this is what’s got the press discombobulated a bit. They don’t like this. Everybody associates executive privilege with Nixon. He didn’t get away with it. The upreme Court didn’t allow his assertion. And he wasn’t allowed to protect anything.
What he was trying to keep secret was made public, and we know what happened after that. Executive privilege, a vestige of Nixon’s desperate effort to conceal criminality in Watergate. The last thing Obama would want to do with the November election looming was resort to the Nixon strategy, which failed in the end. But, see, again, if the Obama version of this story is true, that Bush started this, and Holder didn’t know about it ’til they were immaculated, and not for a while, even, not when he got in there, but it was months before anybody told poor Eric what was going on, wouldn’t they want to release those documents now? Why would they want to protect them? What’s in those documents they want to hide? If they could lay this off on Bush, why didn’t they do that months ago? Why don’t they do it today? Why don’t they leak it to the New York Times? And yet, with their narrative out, they might.
But the fact is, Obama asserts the privilege today, they don’t want us to see what’s in those documents. And don’t tell me that Obama is protecting every president here. Don’t tell me that he’s asserting executive privilege to protect the executive branch. He doesn’t care. Don’t tell me that he’s asserting executive privilege here for all future presidents. Don’t tell me, ’cause he doesn’t care. They don’t want us to see what’s in these documents. Sheila Jackson Lee, the Wall Street Journal, number of others, are saying Bush started the whole thing. Nobody’s gonna buy that. But that’s their plan; they’re sticking to it.
Audio sound bites. This is this morning at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Chairman Issa.
ISSA: More than eight months after a subpoena and clearly after the question of executive privilege could have and should have been asserted, this untimely assertion by the Justice Department falls short of any reason to delay today’s proceedings.
RUSH: Holder thought he had presented a treasure trove of documents, unprecedented number of documents. And Issa said no, this is nothing. He said what Holder gave us is a joke.
ISSA: The attorney general has refused to cooperate, offering to provide subpoena documents only if the committee agrees in advance to close the investigation. No investigator would ever agree to that. The attorney general says that his offer is extraordinary. The only thing extraordinary about his offer is that he is asking the committee to close an investigation before the committee even gets to see the documents he is pretending to offer. I can’t accept that deal. No other committee chairman would.
RUSH: The ranking Democrat on the committee is Elijah Cummings of the Congressional Black Caucasians.
CUMMINGS: All he requested in return was that you, as chairman of this committee, give him your good-faith commitment that we would move toward resolving this contempt fight. Didn’t ask for any investigation. Just ending this contempt fight. And I double-checked with my staff because I — I — when you said that, I — I — I — I heard, I was in the meeting with them, and I heard what he said, he was very clear. It was a fair and reasonable offer, especially in the light of the partisan and highly inflammatory personal attacks you made against him throughout this investigation.
RUSH: So that’s Elijah Cummings of the Congressional Black Caucasians, and the purpose of his statement there is to defend Holder, claiming that Issa is lying about what Holder offered. (interruption) No, there hasn’t been any personal attack here, but that’s par. Next thing you know, it’s gonna be race. They haven’t gotten to that yet, but it’ll be because Holder’s black. That’s coming next. Here more of Elijah Cummings of the Congressional Black Caucasians.
CUMMINGS: You went on national television and called the attorney general, the nation’s highest ranking chief law enforcement officer, “a liar.” I treat assertions of executive privilege very seriously, and I believe they should be used only sparingly. In this case it seems clear that the administration was forced into a position by the committee’s unreasonable insistence on pressing forward with contempt, despite the attorney general’s good-faith offer. Mr. Chairman, it did not have to be this way. It really didn’t.
RUSH: Well, it did, Congressman Cummings. It did. Stonewalls. February 4th letter, an abject lie. DOJ lied to the committee. So Congressman Cummings here says that what this really is is the Republicans just want to embarrass Obama. No, he’s doing that all by himself. I’m asking myself, “Why are they covering up for Bush all of a sudden?” Don’t forget, the Wall Street Journal has it today: The regime’s narrative is that Fast and Furious started with Bush. “Bush started it!
“Eric Holder didn’t know about it for months after he was made attorney general. We found out about it and that’s when all hell broke loose. We started moving things around to stop it.” If that’s true, release the documents. If this started with Bush, unload on Bush. Why are they covering up for Bush? I’m sick and tired of Obama trying to cover up for Bush’s bad deeds! I’m sick of it. Obama says he can’t fix what Bush did wrong. Now Bush started Fast and Furious (which is a crock anyway). But Elijah Cummings of the Congressional Black Caucasians says the Republicans just want to embarrass Obama.
CUMMINGS: That’s quite likely, and I expect that it will come to a vote. I expect that it will be a vote along party lines. And I think that it will be — I still believe this is — an effort to try to embarrass the president.
RUSH: Okay. Well, what else is he gonna say? It doesn’t mean anything. We just want to let you hear what he said. Let’s go back to Larry King Live on March 19th, 2007. He interviewed then-Senator Barack Kardashian, who was thinking about running for president. He was a prominent senator at the time. This was about Rove, Karl Rove being subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee looking into US attorneys who had been fired. Larry King said, “Do you favor executive privilege or should Karl Rove and others be forced to testify before the House or the Senate?”
OBAMA 2007: There’s been a tendency on the part of this administration to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there’s something a little shaky that’s taking place. And I think, you know, the administration would be best served by coming clean on this. There doesn’t seem to be any national security issues involved with the US attorney question. There doesn’t seem to be any justification for not offering up some clear, plausible rationale for why these — these US attorneys were targeted when by all assessments they were doing an outstanding job. I think the American people deserve to know what was going on there.
RUSH: So the guy who asserts executive privilege today said it was wrong for people to hide behind it back in 2007. Bush fired fewer US attorneys than Clinton. Clinton got rid of all 93 his first week in office. He got rid of all 93. Bush had fired seven or eight, and they tried to make a mountain out of a molehill out of it. But Holder admits he’s got the documents in question here. He’s got ’em. And they claim the documents indict Bush. Why not just turn ’em over? What’s so hard about it? Just turn ’em over. But if this goes down to party lines, Holder will be held in contempt. The GOP has the votes. They run the House.
If it gets that far, if they get to a vote, Holder will be found in contempt.
RUSH: Well, the blame-Bush approach just got a little harder, because Byron York of the Washington Examiner tweeted the following: “Issa: Holder now retracts claim that AG predecessor, Michael Mukasey, knew about F&F-like program.” Mukasey was the AG for George W. Bush. Issa said moments ago that Holder has now retracted the claim that Mukasey knew about it. Well, Mukasey, as Bush’s attorney general, if he didn’t know about it, then that makes this claim that it started under Bush a little harder to make. And Byron York just tweeted that.
Meanwhile, on the floor of the House of Representatives, Sheila Jackson Lee from Houston… She’s the woman, remember, who when looking at the Mars Rover asked if it was gonna go over to where the astronauts had planted the American flag, which was on the moon. Here’s what she said…
LEE: I’m appalled, however, when the chief law enforcement officer of the United States is called a liar. And I stand on this floor to reject any thought that a United States attorney that takes an oath of office would lie. We can find a resolution to the facts of Fast and Furious that have been reinvestigated and reinvestigated, started under the Bush administration.
RUSH: There it is.
LEE: But we do not have to malign General Holder for doing his job. And I would ask this Congress to ultimately reject any contempt charge against the chief law enforcement officer.
RUSH: Here’s more detail on this, by the way: “During last weekÂ’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder had alleged that former Attorney General Michael Mukasey knew of gunwalking during the George W. Bush administration. … After the hearing, Grassley wrote to Holder asking him to provide evidence to back up his blaming Mukasey. Instead of being able to facilitate evidence, though, according to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck GrassleyÂ’s office, Holder and the DOJ have now retracted that statement.”
So Byron York tweeted it. Chuck Grassley has informed everybody that, again — what is it? — misinformation. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder alleged that Bush’s AG knew about Fast and Furious. The Senate committee said, “We want some proof of that. We want some evidence to back up that claim blaming Mukasey for Fast and Furious.” So when proof was demanded, Eric Holder and the DOJ “retracted that statement” that Mukasey knew anything about it. Which is gonna make it really, really hard for them to assert that Fast and Furious started under Bush.
Quick, somebody call Sheila Jackson Lee before she embarrasses herself!