June 20th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

House panel recommends Holder be cited for contempt

[Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET] Voting on strictly partisan lines, a House committee recommended 23-17 Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting operation.

The measure now goes to the full House for consideration, expected next week, of what would be an unprecedented event - Congress holding a sitting attorney general in contempt.

Republicans on the committee voted for the recommendation; Democrats voted against it. Like they do on the panel, Republicans hold a majority in the full House.

Earlier Wednesday, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents that the panel is seeking.

[Initial post, 10:11 a.m. ET] President Barack Obama has asserted executive privilege over documents sought by a House committee investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting, said a letter to the panel Wednesday from Deputy Attorney Gen. James Cole.

The move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the panel.

The letter came just as the House Oversight Committee was set to vote on a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder for not providing some documents on the botched federal firearms sting operation.

A showdown meeting Tuesday between Holder and panel chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, failed to resolve their dispute over the committee's demand for the Department of Justice to turn over more documents about the program.

"Prepping for #contempt proceedings against #Holder for #FastAndFurious stonewalling. Didn't have to be this way, but we'll do our duty," said a Twitter post by Issa before the committee convened Wednesday.
If the panel approves the contempt measure, it would go to the full House for possible consideration.

After Tuesday's meeting with Issa, Holder said he offered to provide the documents on the condition that Issa gave his assurance that doing so would satisfy two committee subpoenas and resolve the dispute.

Letter from Holder requesting privilege (PDF)

Letter informing Issa that Obama is asserting privilege (PDF)

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics
soundoff (443 Responses)
  1. betterdays

    The 1972 "President Nixon. Now More Than Ever." bumper sticker that's been on my car since 2009 (as a protest against people who refuse to remove political bumper stickers after an election) is extra, extra humorous right now. I mean, it's been funny on pretty much a daily basis for the past couple of years, but today it's a real hoot.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fred

    The agent that was shot was proficient with all manner of guns.Eric Holder,of the Dept.of Social Justice, had him armed with a bean bag gun.200 Mexicans are dead.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sameeker

    Maybe Obama should start fighting back and charge Bu$h and Cheney with war crimes. The repugs can't win on their merits so they always have to dig up something.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • funnyman12

      Hundreds of Mexicans dead and some Americans too... to libs like you, apparently this is a non-issue and just a witch-hunt?!?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • CD

      1. Bush and Cheney didn't commit war crimes – the Senate voted 77-23 to approve the Iraq war resolution.
      2. "...can't win on their own merits" You're talking about Obama "it's Bush's fault, right? "
      3. They aren't digging up anything besides the truth. This administration gave guns to the Cartel and those guns were used to kill a US border patrol agent – and they need to be held accountable for that. Period. End of story. It's really not hard to understand, if you would stop drinking your liberal kool-aid.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dumber than Dumb

    Do you think they are hiding something?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    SMFH! These Azzholes are doing everything In their power to make POTUS look bad. They care more about winning a damn election then helping the American people.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • funnyman12

      Obama and Holder are the ones making themselves look bad.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      I wear a black ribbon over my shield for a colleaugue because of that psychopath Holder, republicans are just as bad. Bloomberg in NYC with his stop and frisk is illegal. As a law enforcement officer I can't frisk anyone Bloomberg demands it. It is not a right left issue but I work for some psychos like holder. Patriot Act was bad NDAA is even worse. I work for you not some politician playing cop.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    I'm sure it's a toothless threat, considering that nothing happened when the Bush Administration did the same thing (everyone that wasn't the president claiming Executive Priveledge). The benchmarks have already been codified. This will pretty much go away.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill Duke

    Holder forgot this lesson from history: Its always the cover-up that gets you...never the crime.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnRJohnson

      Exactly who would Holder be covering up for? Why would the Attorney General risk his position and his reputation in order to protect a middle manager in the ATF who screwed up an operation that began during the previous administration. Your comment is preposterous.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. scmom

    Nothing but a two for one–discredit and slander the president and stop Holder from interfering with the illegal voter suppression going on. Give these republicans credit they have sleaziness and conniving down to a science.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Primal 4 Life

      LMAO what a totally delusional comment. Why are liberals so pathetic that they can never admit their people are just as corrupt, just as slimy, and just as uncaring as their conservative counterparts.

      Absolutely pathetic.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ktown8

    CNN, why does your story say "voting strictly on partisan lines"? Are you saying that this is a Republican deal? The oversight committee consists of 16 Democrats and 12 Republicans, so how is this partisan?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnRJohnson

      Another right-winger who can't read.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Math and comprehension are difficult for Conservatives. There are 23 Republicans on the committe and 17 Democrats. The vote was 23-17.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ilovebush

    This investigation has gone on for a year and a half. There has been ample time for Holder to have provided the information, or for Obama to exercise executive privilege. This is a Holder / Obama issue. Not a George W. Bush issue. However, I find it curious that no matter how badly Obama performs, he is constantly (by the left) compared to George W. I would think that since Obama, AKA the messiah, is such a great leader and far superior as President, that his supporters would find it to contemptible to draw comparisons between the two. More of the same.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hope

    Here's a look at how many times President Obama versus George Bush have asserted executive privilege:
    President Barack Obama: 1
    President George W. Bush: 6
    Where was all of your Republican, Tea-Party righteous indignation then?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo

      Pay no attention to the whining conservatives....they hate facts.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dustin.Goldsen@yahoo.com

    Republicans could care less about Democracy. Their only objective is to bring down the Democrats at all costs.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Boo

    So what? I have contempt of congress too....

    June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. loops808

    Watching Obama fanboy Wolf's analysis after the vote was pitiful. Even more shameful was Maria Cardona’s analysis. She called this a witch-hunt. Excuse me, Ms. Cardona, there is a dead U.S. Border agent and more than 200 Mexicans killed using weapons from Fast and Furious. This is a witch-hunt? Ms. Cardona, you may not value the lives of agent Brian Terry or the Mexicans that lost their lives, but Americans do. The fact that we still do not know who authorized this program is an injustice to agent Terry. And that fact that this person is still working in the DOJ and has not been held accountable is insane. Where is the era of transparency from the Obama administration? Even worse, is Ms. Cardona trying to misrepresent the facts by stating that this was an operation started under President Bush. I wasn’t surprised that fanboy Wolf did not correct her either. Operation Wide Receiver was completely different than Fast and Furious. Wide Receiver had surveillance, gps tracking, and it informed the Mexican government of the operation. Wide Reciever was ended in 2007. Fast and Furious did none of this. Yes, as incredible as it sounds, American officials did not even notify the Mexican government. So Ms. Cardona is lying when she states that this operation was started under President Bush. I didn’t hear Ms. Cardona calling the firing of the U.S. Attorneys a witch-hunt. Ms. Cardona, no one died in those firings. People died in Fast and Furious.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnRJohnson

      The two operations are identical, with Fast and Furious being an extension of the Bush administration ATF policy. There was a foul up by a middle manager in the ATF which led to this tragedy. There is no rational reason for Attorney General Holder, much less the President, to cover up ANYTHING to protect the people responsible for the ATF mistakes. Darrell Issa knows this, as does every Republican on Issa's committee. But they are exploiting this situation as much as possible for purely political reasons. It is transparent and you are a fool to think otherwise.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ktown8

    “Let me say as simply as I can, transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency. I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness…But the mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does not mean you should always use it.” – Barack Obama, 2008

    Seems as if he's contradicted every single part of this declaration

    June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debby

      Well I am not surprised. I think Obama said alot of things even he can't remember.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
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