There is a new release out of Judicial Watch, which has been meeting with success in its effort to defeat extreme privilege assertions by the Obama Administration in seeking records related to the infamous Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama Administration has been repeatedly criticized for expansive claims of presidential power and privilege. I have been one of those critics. A federal court has expressed growing impatience and even anger with the Administration’s claims and obstruction — recently ordering production of evidence over the vehement objections of the Justice Department. However, nothing likely prepared them for what they claim is the privileges asserted on the “Vaughn index” produced by the Justice Department. The Administration is now reserving the claim of executive privilege over emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother. That’s right, executive privilege over communications with your family. It captures the lack of any sense of limitation or logic to the Obama Administration’s view of presidential power, which now overshadows the claims not just of George W. Bush but Richard Nixon.
The index also invokes deliberative process privilege for communications with the “First Lady of the Justice Department.” Ms. Holder is a physician and not a government employee.
The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. It covers 15,662 documents. The index reportedly already shows that Holder was directly involved in handling Congressional inquiries as well as public statements.
However, it is the assertion of executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone that are so notable for constitutional scholars. To add the deliberative process claim adds to the absurdity, since that claim is based on the protection of internal government deliberations. It would now be extended to cover family members? The result would expand both privileges beyond any recognition or limitation. It shows the radical approach of Holder to these claims and will serve to only undermine the credibility of the Administration with the court and the public.
Last July, Judge John D. Bates issued his order to produce the index after 16 months of delay and excuses from the Administration. The Justice Department sought for another delay until after the election but the court refused and gave it until September 23rd. Two days after that decision, Holder announced his resignation though he denies any connection to such orders or controversies. Congress is also seeking more information on the response to its oversight investigation into the program.
While the Justice Department can drop such claims, it has often been criticized for making frivolous claims of classification and privilege to obstruct discovery or public disclosures. It has spent roughly two years in court arguing the same type of extreme arguments before Bates and other courts.
I have not seen any coverage of these alleged assertions in the mainstream press, which has generally ignored the extreme claims of privilege of this Administration in such cases. Some more conservative sites have reported on the claims. The original source is from Judicial Watch below.
Source: Judicial Watch