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. Joe Brown

    Is it ubelievable that congress could find a way to hang two black men with one rope???

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. t2dela1943

    WOW! What hypocrites these republicans, where was the investigation the lies Bush and Cheney told congress and the American public that got us into war in Iraq. Hundred of thousands of our most loyal soldiers and their families have had their lives dramatically altered for the worst and for what. Get a grip Issa and get your priority straight. Stop playing politics and do the peoples work.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JVK

    We have the government we deserve....

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    Bush never started this. That's another lie by the people at the top. Obama would not assert executive privilege if that were the case. This administration is so corrupt, it's unbelievable they are even competing at all in the polls. It's a dumb public that doesn't pay attention... Even Bill Clinton is against him, but won't say it.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      It started in 2004. Now Conservatives say Bush was not to blame. Evidently Conservatives now believe Obama was President in 2004.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Solitaire

    The GOP holds Holder in contempt. Surprise! Really?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Guero

    More politcal BS. It was well intended program that went wrong. Learn from it and move on. Republicans, how about spending as much time on trying to save the American middle class?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. phil

    You should have learned your lesson from Nixon, it's not the lie that gets you in trouble, it's the cover up..

    June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey Cox

      When did you stop beating your wife, Phil? Don't have an answer? What are you covering up?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jake

    What a joke our government has become. Republicans all voted for it like it was a badge of honor. Do any of them have at least a few brain cells that they can use to make their own decision? Or like sheep to the slaughter house, they just follow along. America did not elect them to follow somebody else, but to make decisions based on the needs and desires of the community and nation they serve. And what is gained here by this lynch mob? Does it make for a better America, will more Americans be able to find employment now. These SOBs can pass a BS thing like this instantly, but when it comes to passing real legislation that helps America, they can't. Vote them all out of office. This is nothing but a lynch mob. They forgot who elected them and think they; are the mob.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • DB

      Republicans or Democrats both have similar brain cells, and none of them work well.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Would You Look At That

      The questions you pose could just as easily be directed towards the Rats...

      June 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DB

    Does this sound like the same type of coverup path that Watergate ended up being and President Nixon ended up resigning from? Give me a break, if there is nothing to cover up then why not release all the papers to the Congressional members, regardless of they were "legal to release" or not. Supposedly Congress does hold some sort of secuirty clearance, just hold them to it. IF AG Holder or President Obama HAS committed a crime and has liked to Congress and the American Public, then they should suffer the same consequence that Nixon did with the Watergate cover up. This is not a racist situation as most of the Black Community seems to think, it a situation of refusal of a lawful order by Congress and a President who apparently does not know the thin ice he is skating on today, before the elections. If his health care bill fizzles, in my opinion, along with all the rest of the questionable actions his administration has been found guilty of, then I ask you does HE deserve another term? Bush was bad but this seems to be getting worse every day.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey Cox

      No, it sounds like a repeat of the Republican Congress of the 1990's that wasted millions of dollars investigating Clinton for years instead of doing something that might have amounted to something.

      It's another opportunity to jive and weave – make sure we misdirect everyone over here so that they see we're not really doing anything.

      They make me sick!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tex

    Sad that the leadership of the country continues to divide. What a sad state of affairs we have with this president in office. Whether or not he had knowledge or approved of this operation, Holder is in contempt! Throw the bum out on the street and let the mobs take care of him with Terry's family firing the first volley!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. VoteEnvironment

    To BobbaFet; first you are one of my favorite characters. Second, you would have hated the 18th and 19th Centuries in the US where politicians had to conceed policy measures that they valued dearly in order accomplish a common goal to move our country forward. You should read Benjamin Franklin's biography. After some of his greatest accomplishments he was most disappointed because he couldn't get his full agenda through. But what came through was a masterwork of American politics.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. amazed2

    One day the American people are going to totally tire of this two party nonsensical fighting and bickering that will never, ever come to an end.... where else on planet earth do you keep your job with a 10% approval rating? The actual people of America are the last thing these politicians give a rats eyebrow about, it's all self service, power, slander and re-elections.....

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

    Holder going in front of the House for Contempt. The SCOTUS will overturn Obamacare and the DOJ's position on the Arizona law. Obama is having one hell of a month!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. justsayin'

    just because previous administrations did wrong, does that mean this should get a pass too? Where is the accountability for this admitted debacle? Has anyone taken responsibility? No. Holder is the Attorney General and he LIED and DENIED to congress. If I testified like he did, I'd be writing this from my jail cell right now.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Vin Diesel

    More derpity derp and hurpity hurp from Congress. After Clemens, does anyone take these people seriously anymore?! Contempt of Congress versus the 3 day old pizza in my fridge- I wonder what's more important.....

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