We need to keep those differences in mind as the story unfolds. We also need to remind ourselves of how blatantly, er, economical Eric Holder has been with the truth as he testified under oath before Congress. He didn’t know about Fast and Furious, no sirree, until the day before yesterday, except that internal Justice Department documents show he knew about it back in July of 2010. An email discussing “Fast and Furious” was really about an operation called “Wide Receiver” and was overseen by George W. Bush’s Attorney General Michael Mukasey, except that it wasn’t, as Holder eventually acknowledged (without, however, apologizing to Mr. Mukasey). The more we know about Fast and Furious, the more it appears that Holder’s testimony before Congress is a tissue of evasions, equivocations, and outright lies.
For ordinary folk, lying under oath is a serious offense. What does it portend for above-the-law elites like Eric Holder? At the very least, I suspect, it means that he should be polishing his resume. And here’s something else to ponder: as I say, Obama’s assertion of executive privilege has been widely interpreted as an effort to protect Holder. Yet I can’t help thinking that behind that spectacular performance I hear the revving of a bus engine, a bus that has Eric Holder’s name on it and that he is shortly to be thrown under. Sure, the president wants to conceal something by asserting executive privilege. The dramatic and politically risky nature of the act naturally leads one to suspect that it is something serious. You can’t hear the phrase “executive privilege” without thinking “Watergate,” a word you can’t hear without thinking “cover-up,” “Nixon,” “impeachment.” In fact, Fast and Furious is far worse than Watergate. No one died in Watergate. Dozens of people are dead as the result of Fast and Furious, including at least one U.S. citizen, Border Agent Brian Terry.
No, Obama’s assertion of executive privilege will do little if anything to save Eric Holder. Its chief effect, I predict, will be to focus attention more sharply on the great questions that have not been sufficiently plumbed: Who is Barack Obama? What does he have to hide?