(WASHINGTON) — Asked about the President’s assertion of executive privilege in the Congressional investigation of the Fast and Furious matter, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney quickly jumped on what committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told Fox News over the weekend: that “there is no evidence, let me repeat no evidence, of White House involvement in any cover up or attempt to cover up this issue,” Carney said.
Critics of the administration have summarized the furor over the now “frozen” material by asking if the administration has nothing to hide, why did President Obama use executive privilege to lock down the documents Issa requested?
Carney, speaking to reporters on board Air Force One, repeated that the Department of Justice and the attorney general have provided an enormous number of documents to the committee investigating the Fast and Furious program and that the attorney general has testified repeatedly about this matter — though the Department of Justice decided to withdraw some of the documents entered as testimony as innacurate. The program involved shipping guns over the border to Mexico to drug dealers but the government quickly lost track of the guns. The weapons have beeen linked to the deaths of an unknown number of Mexicans, and U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry.
Carney insisted the material being kept from Issa have nothing to do with the growing scandal. “All of the documents under executive privilege are after the Feb 4th date where — beyond which these documents are simply kind of internal deliberative documents that every administration should be able to keep private,” Carney said, adding that the administration remains ready to try to resolve this issue in a way that is satisfactory to both sides.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Dan Simon, Max Blau and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Shimon Prokupecz, CNN
Kathryn Vasel, CNN