Now, the Justice Department is seeking a dismissal of the civil suit.
Via CBS News:
The Justice Department says federal courts should stay out of a political dispute between the Obama administration and Congress over documents in a botched law enforcement probe of gun trafficking.There seems to be a slight problem with this argument. In U.S. v. Nixon, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that president could not assert Executive Privilege to cover up any crimes that had been committed.
In court papers filed Monday night, the department is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit by a Republican-led House committee, which is demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder produce records about Operation Fast and Furious.
The Justice Department says the Constitution does not permit the courts to resolve the political dispute between the executive branch and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The political branches have a long history of resolving disputes over congressional requests without judicial intervention, the court filing said.
President Barack Obama has invoked executive privilege and the attorney general has been found in contempt of the House for refusing to turn over records that might explain what led the department to reverse course after initially denying that federal agents had used a controversial tactic called gun-walking in the failed law enforcement operation.
A central component in the documents subpoenaed in Fast and Furious has to do with a February 4, 2011 letter signed by then Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich and addressed to Senator Charles Grassley. That letter alleged that the ATF was not allowing guns to walk into Mexico. Ten months later, the letter was withdrawn because its main assertion had been disproven.
Many of the documents subpoenaed are thought to provide some answers as to how that letter was written in the first place as well as what transpired in the months afterward.
If the precedent in this case is U.S. v. Nixon, a dismissal at this stage should not be considered likely. Then again, we've all seen some bizarre rulings these days.