House holds Holder in contempt
June 28th, 2012
04:48 PM ET

House holds Holder in contempt

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt for refusing to turn over documents tied to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting - a discredited operation that has become a sharp point of contention between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

The 255-67 vote marked the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress. Almost every House Republican backed the measure, along with nearly 20 Democrats.

A large number of Democrats - including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - walked off the House floor in protest and refused to participate in the vote.

The criminal contempt charge refers the dispute to District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, who will decide whether to file charges against Holder. Most legal analysts do not expect Machen - an Obama appointee who ultimately answers to Holder - to take any action.

House members are also expected to pass a civil contempt measure Thursday afternoon. The civil measure would allow the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to file a lawsuit asking the courts to examine the Justice Department's failure to produce certain subpoenaed documents, as well as the validity of the administration's recent assertion of executive privilege over the documents in question.

Legal experts contacted by CNN have said, based on recent precedent, that it could take years for the courts to reach any final decision.

Fast and Furious, a so-called "gun-walking" operation, allowed roughly 2,000 guns into Mexico with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. Two guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry's fatal shooting were linked to the operation. Guns from the operation have also been linked to an unknown number of Mexican civilians' deaths.

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soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Mary

    what honest hard working American citizen WOULDN'T want the CIA helping the FBI control domestic terrorism?

    June 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. George Villa

    The question is, who is manipulating Eric Holden for not going to declare in congress? Some one in the W/H is directly responsable to give the green light in this fiasco. Two american agents dead and many other mexican civilians are in the account. Are we facing the end of JUSTICE FOR ALL?

    June 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      You have no idea what's going on do you? Just based on the statements you are making sir, you are so misinformed it's hard to know where to start to provide you with facts. So i'll just say you haven't a clue and I suggest you review the information on this topic online before you supply anyone with anymore misinformation. thanks,

      June 29, 2012 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      And how many Americans, NATO soldiers and Iraqi civilians have died as a result of GWB's war crimes in Iraqi? That is, over a million people to be exact! And every day the news is turned on, more and more Iraqis are being the victims of tribal warfare because GWB and the GOP invaded and destabilized that country. And the same is to be said of the Afghan war that was deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged to invade Iraq! Let's face it, GWB and the GOP are more criminal than Adolph Hitler! Stop the double standard and stop trying to lynch the innocent black man! Racist rightwing morons!

      July 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hamsta

    Now we need to prosecute Eric Holder on the charges of : obstruction of justice, accomplice after the fact of murder, witholding evidence, tampering with evidence, possible destruction of evidence, accesary to murder, negligent homicide, illegal arms trafficking, perjury, and treason. When convicted he should be sentenced to death. That and only that will ensure that these politicians realize D.O.J. stands for the Department Of Justice and does not mean Department Obstructing Justice.

    June 29, 2012 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      Issa and this committee isn't after justice, this is politics they're after a distraction to take the heat off the fact that nothing is getting done in Congress. This is costing us money while Issa and this committee play games with peoples lives. This is political show biz.directed by Issa.

      June 29, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @hamsta,arrest and put Bush on trial then,human rights violations,wars started with lies that left thousands of innocent military men,women and Iraqi civilians dead or maimed for life,that's who should be persecuted,not Holder he's an alterboy compared to your monster expresident Bush.It's Pres.Obama ,Holder cleaning up your parties messes again as usual,you're in denile because you know its true and the truth does hurt doesn't it!!

      July 1, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      And where is the probe into GWB and the GOP's lies about WMD's in Iraq? Where is the justice in this blatant and outrageous war crime? Where is the justice for the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and NATO and US soldiers who have died in vain is this senseless war campaign? They say those who ignore history are bound to repeat it...well, fortunately some of us will never ever forget that GWB and the GOP have committed the worst war crimes of the 21st century! GWB is a tyrant and a war criminal and so are the GOP cronies in Washington and across the country! Hypocrisy!

      July 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ronvan

    1. Politics as usual! 2. Personally, and sadly, I don't think these guys give a hoot about Terry's death. He is just a tool that the Repukes are using against the Dems! 3. Who are we kidding? These drug animals have enough money, from many countries, to buy, steal, or kill to get ANY weapon (s) they need. So who are the idiots that thought up this worthless plan, and how much did it cost US? 4. WHY, executive privelege? Does it go to the top! Is it to protect informants? It sure isn't "Secrets", because if it was someone would have leaked it already and we would know!

    June 29, 2012 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      I agree, this is about Republican politics and it disgusts me and it's costing the taxpayer more money we can afford. Can we hold Issa and this committee in contempt?

      June 29, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      waste of money huh? All holder had to do was get the evidence out on the table. But no that's too much to ask

      June 29, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Heather

    As a citizen I'd like to hold this house committee in contempt for wasting our money on political posturing which I find utterly disgusting. Someone needs to investigate Issa, for wasting our money and time when there is so much to get done. Issa seems to do lots of attacking but it's more of a distraction than anything of any substance and the lies and misinformation of this committee should be investigated, I'm sick of them wasting our money with this stuff. In my opinion this guy Issa is a tool for the Republicans and a shameless clown.

    June 29, 2012 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
    • pastorpatriot

      Heather, are you just clueless or really that naive? This is blatant criminality at its best and brightest. It doesn't matter who is in the Whitehouse. Left, right, Republican, Democrat... it does not matter. They are ALL tools of the criminal banking cabal that runs the world. A house divided cannot stand. Get it? Divide and conquer. Grow up or you, your children, my children, will shortly become slaves of the state. It really amazes me how easily people are manipulated by these criminals. They are a den of vipers and simple street punks in fancy suits. Stop believing the BS from BOTH sides of the aisle and really LOOK at what they are doing to our nation.

      July 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ancient Texan

    Heather- Why do Liberals want this debacle and the murder of two border agents swept under the rug and forgotten?

    June 29, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Sheesh

      Probably the same reason conservatives don't want anyone looking too closely into Bush's duplicity regarding 9/11.
      Now we need to prosecute George W Bush on the charges of : obstruction of justice, accomplice after the fact of murder, witholding evidence, tampering with evidence, possible destruction of evidence, accesary to murder, negligent homicide, illegal arms trafficking, perjury, and treason. When convicted he should be sentenced to death. That and only that will ensure that these politicians realize D.O.J. stands for the Department Of Justice and does not mean Department Obstructing Justice.

      June 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Ancient Texan why do conservatives want the death of a million Iraqi and Afghan civilians and thousands of American and NATO troops and logistic workers be swept under the rug as GWB and the GOP be exonerated and not be held accountable for the treason and war crimes they have committed over lies about WMD's in Iraq? Why the double standard? And by the way, who started Fast and Furious? You guess right, it was the tyrant and war criminal GWB once again!

      July 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. V S Lowe

    How ironic! The Attorney General is held in contempt by the most contemptable body in the US government. In the name of national security, our government takes many actions the House doesn't need to know about. I don't need to know about them because I don't have access to the information the Justice Department does. The current House is only partisan and election driven. Security of the whole country be damned, full speed ahead!

    June 29, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeffrey

    To Heather, and the rest of you...None of "us" have all the facts. You are pointing fingers, when you have not the fingers to point!!!! How about we wait for the facts of the case before we make a decision?!? Is that possible? Or, would all of you rather WASTE MORE TIME AND ENERGY, listening to people that don't know any better than you? I don't know what happened – I WILL NOT JUDGE!

    July 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Jefffey, too bad we are yet to hear the facts about the bogus WMD's in Iraq a decade later! So where is the contempt hearing for GWB and the GOP? Hypocrisy!

      July 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The Rev Dr Sherwood Forrester

    Nice to the the GHP (Grand Hypocritical Party) is so serious about taking care of the business of this country. Billions of dollars and millions of lives lost under Dubya's regime, not a peep was heard. Dubya's AG was sacking US Attorneys for political reasons, not a peep was heard until there was so much evidence even they couldn't pretend it wasn't there.

    This is yet another GHP hatchet job. I don't know why anyone's really surprised anymore - or why anyone takes their whining, lies and hypocrisy seriously. They don't want to investigate, they just want to grandstand and make as many political points as they can.

    July 4, 2012 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. jon

    Liberals will always point the finger at the opposition as a reason to not do what is right. Stop taking sides, it clouds your mind.

    July 30, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
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