I almost fell out of my chair. Karl Rove decrying the use of Executive privilege on Fox. Karl Rove, who was saved by Bush’s use of executive privilege to avoid having to testify about the firing of 9 federal prosecutors who were fired for purely political reasons.
And yet he has the audacity to condemn Obama for using executive privilege to shield documents deemed harmful to current or future justice department operations from public view. Documents that Holder has offered to allow the committee full access to review but not to make public.
Our presidents have a long history of using executive privilege both to cover their asses, and to keep documents that could be harmful to the nations security or operations secret.
A short history of modern usage of Executive Privilege, courtesy of PBS Fontline:
- Reaganclaimed executive privilege three times, according toa 2008 Congressional Research Service report(PDF): in connection with investigations into Canadian oil leases, Superfund enforcement practices, and memos written by Justice William Rehnquist when he worked in the Justice Department, ahead of his nomination proceedings for the Supreme Court.
- George H.W. Bushonly invoked it once: In 1991, he allowed Dick Cheney, then the defense secretary, to not turn over documents subpoenaed during a congressional investigation into a Navy aircraft program.
- Clintonwas the first president to invoke executive privilege without issuing a written order; according to today’s White House statement, he claimed the privilege 14 times, includingto avoid having to testifyabout his involvement in the Whitewater scandal in 1995.
- Clintonwas overruled by a federal judgethree years later, when he tried to avoid testifying or allowing his advisers to testify about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. That made him the first president since Nixon to invoke the privilege and lose.
- George W. Bushinvokedexecutive privilege six times, including to avoid handing over documents to a congressional committee on the FBI’s use of mob informants in Boston, and to deny access to Justice Department correspondence about Clinton’s fundraising tactics.
- In 2007, the Bush White House alsodeclinedto give Congress documents about the death of Pat Tillman, the football star-turned-Army Ranger, who was killed in Afghanistan. The military initially said Tillman was killed in a firefight with the enemy, but it was later discovered that he was shot in a friendly fire accident. In refusing to hand over the documents, Bush’s counsel said the documents “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”
- Barely a month later, Bush used the privilege to allow Karl Rove, his senior adviser at the time, toavoidtestifying before Congress during its investigation into the firing of nine federal prosecutors, allegedly for partisan reasons.
And while clearly no party have been angels about it’s use, and both have had justified uses, it would seem the republicans are for more inclined to use it to cover up their wrongdoings in their actions in the government…