President Obama got some devastating news on Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that he cannot use executive privilege to prevent Congress from viewing records on Operation Fast and Furious, a gunrunning program that allowed thousands of firearms to cross into Mexico.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was nominated by President Obama to the bench, ruled that Obama’s administration must release the documents that they were withholding by citing executive privilege. According to Free Beacon, she wrote in her decision that the information already made public by the Justice Department has mitigated the impact of any further disclosures because whatever damage could result from these deliberations “has already been self-inflicted.”
In essence, Jackson was not questioning Obama’s executive privilege claim in itself. Instead, she was was saying that it was rendered invalid by what the justice department has already released.
In addition, Obama’s White House has to hand over to Congress “attorney-client privileged material, attorney work product, private information, law enforcement sensitive material, or foreign policy sensitive material.”
The lawsuit in question dates back to a June 2012 vote in the House of Representatives in which they tried to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not handing over the records. The Obama administration can appeal this ruling, but it is not yet clear if they will do so.
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