Rep. Dan Burton told Newsmax.TV that he is “more than disappointed” that President Barack Obama granted a request from Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege and withhold documents related to the Fast and Furious gun probe and that the appearance of impropriety being covered up on the part of the White House is “very real.”
A probe was launched into Fast and Furious after the Senate looked into allegations that the government had allowed the transfer of illegally purchased guns found at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
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The Republican Indiana congressman, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, told Newsmax.TV that, “The appearance of impropriety that is being covered up is very real. And I think everybody in the Committee Room and everybody on the Committee, Democrats and Republicans, are concerned about that.”
Burton said that the attempt by the White House to block attempts to obtain documents on the probe is unconscionable. “I mean, here’s the president blocking, or trying to block, the Congress from getting documentation on the government of the United States assisting and sending illegal guns across the Mexican border to the drug cartel,” Burton told Newsmax.
“Many people have been killed in Mexico with those guns, as well as a border patrol agent in the United States. And for us not to get to the bottom of it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again, is just unconscionable. So when the president claims executive privilege that opens a whole new can of worms. Who knew about it? How high up does it go and when did they know it?”
Burton said he “was more than disappointed” when he heard that Obama would seek executive privilege to withhold the documents. “You know, Eric Holder the Attorney General in the Justice Department had said for ten months that they didn’t have information about this Fast and Furious, at least, many of the people there didn’t,” he told Newsmax.
“And then we found out ten months later that they did know about it and they withdrew their statement that they didn’t know, which in effect was a lie, because they did know. And then Chairman Issa was very patient and tried to get documents and subpoenaed them and waited and waited and waited and then at the 11th hour, the Attorney General said he wanted to come in and see if they could reach an agreement so that they would not have to face the contempt citation. That produced nothing. The Attorney General offered no documents that were important and so today, we are about to discuss the contempt citation and the president claims executive privilege.”
Burton went on to say: “Now that brings into question who knew about this, when they knew about it, and how high up does it go? Does it go to the Attorney General? Does it go up to the White House and to the president? And it creates all kind of questions. Why would the president claim executive privilege over something of this import unless it affected the Attorney General and possibly the president himself and people at the White House?”
Even with the claim of executive privilege, plans to bring the contempt citation against Holder are still in place, Burton believed, but that’s a decision “that Speaker Boehner and Chairman Issa have to make. It’s my opinion that if we don’t get the documents we will probably proceed with it and then we’ll pass it on the floor. But like I said, that’s a decision that has to be made by leadership.”
“It’s just awful that the American government was assisting in sending weapons across the border to drug cartel members, they say in an effort to find out who they are,” Burton told Newsmax. “But the Mexican government didn’t know about it. They’ve been extremely upset about it. So there’s just a whole host of things that need to be found out and it needs to be cleaned up and never let this go on again.”
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