In a letter to President Obama, released to the press Monday but embargoed until yesterday, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa charged: "Your [assertion of executive privilege] means one of two things. Either you or your most senior advisors were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it... or, you are asserting a presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation."
The seven-page letter is complete with legal precedent indicating the cases in which the courts have delimited the executive privilege claim to the narrow sphere of the White House and its direct staff only, NOT the entire administration. Thus, the assertion in this case thus "raised concerns that there was greater White house involvement in Operation Fast and Furious than previously thought," Issa stated. Since Holder has "steadfastly maintained" that the documents involved do not involve the White House, Obama's assertion does not cover them. Thus, the final demand to Obama: "To what extent were you or your most senior advisors involved in Operation Fast and Furious and the fallout from it, including the false February 4, 2011 letter provided by the Attorney General to the Committee?
In his defense, Obama has limited options; the one being played is the "race" card. None other than the Reverend Al Sharpton has come out and accused the accusers — not of racism, per se, but of "facilitating" racism, by tarnishing the good name of the Attorney General to the point that he will be ineffecive in what matters: insuring "ballot access" for the poor and downtrodden.
"I'm not saying that this is because Holder is black, and I'm not calling [Republicans] racists," said Sharpton, who held a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "I'm saying what they're doing has a racial effect." Other groups appearing at the press conference included the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Urban League, the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza.
The House vote to hold Holder in contempt is expected this Thursday. When it happens, Issa has said that he fully expects that a number of Democrats will have the courage to join the Republicans against Nero. On June 3, 2011, 31 Democrats signed a letter to Obama, requesting him to be "forthcoming" in the investigation. When those Democrats were polled by The Hill newspaper today, while four claimed they would side with the Fuhrer, 26 refused to answer, and one, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) said he was "undecided."