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History of presidential use of executive privilege

Updated: June 20, 2012 10:18AM



WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege for the first time Wednesday. He applied the presidential power to withhold documents a House committee is seeking in an investigation of a flawed gun-smuggling probe called Operation Fast and Furious.

Presidents have the right to invoke executive privilege to preserve the confidentiality of information and documents in the face of legislative inquiries. The White House says presidents have asserted that privilege 25 times since 1980.

Here’s a look at how many times each president since Ronald Reagan have asserted executive privilege:

President Barack Obama: 1

President George W. Bush: 6

President Bill Clinton: 14

President George H.W. Bush: 1

President Ronald Reagan: 3



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