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. Just Let It Happen

    Obama will do what he wants, first amnesty without congress, now interfearing with congressional investigation. I'm sure you can add more to this. HE is God, don't you know?

    June 20, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alan

    Well here is another one of our Great Presidents Coverup......my question is "If there's nothing to cover up why would you need the President to declare a 'Executive Privledge'? Let's hope this adds another nail to his coffin when November comes along....... Holden is just another one of President Obama's puppets on a string. Holden needs to go also...... (boy I hate calling this man President and Commaner in Chief, it just turns my stomach, and this is from a Retired Navy Veteran)......

    June 20, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Innocent

    What about the American Citizen that has a right to know. Oh I forgot ours rights have been taken from us by this President and his Staff.

    June 20, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Exceptional America!

    What the (Bleep) is going on here? "Do not bother me Mr US Congressman, I have work to do."

    Is that like "Why are you stopping me Mr. police officer, I am late for work?"
    This goes all the way to the top of the manure pile.

    June 20, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Exceptional America!

    Dingbat, coverup is illegal, lying to Congress is an illegal act. Repudiate Obama 2012

    June 20, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      They took it from the terrorist bush, they can take it from obama.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jim

    So much for "checks and balances". How can the government "police" itself when the executive branch claims the right to hide what it is doing from the legislative branch? They're supposed to be running the country, not spending 90% of their time covering their @$$es.

    June 20, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      But it was ok for bush to hide info on 9/11 from that comission? Some people are hypocrites

      June 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey Cox

      So it's okay when Bush did it?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhYeah

      I love why was bush able to do this and that and not the Dems..what about why is the White Housing doing this regardless of party

      June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jh1289

      This is nothing new. This exact type of scenario has been going on forever. I'm so tired of the political grandstanding.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Af090391

      He made an attack against the power of the excutive branch, not the obama administration singularly. Instead of playing party lines, why dont we tell both parties to start acting more reasonable.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BillyBrasky

    This isn't unprecedented or even uncommon. There are on going investigations that need to be considered. Issa is on a witch hunt and he knows it.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Army Wife

      Why can't Holder just give up the papers? It would seem he is trying to hide something.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Uppity Again Speaks

    the ONLY problem for the republicans is that the President, and other minorities in high positions do not belong to the WASP evangelical culture.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • OhYeah

      Really is this your excuse...please

      June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sf

    Why shouldn't the Prez do this? Isn't this the type of response Obama gets from republicans? the whole "draw a line threw the sand" is the republican way...has been for almost 4 years now with everything the Prez has tried to do! so srew republicans! They'll use this as a distraction on not being able to answer on immigration!

    June 20, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Donald

      The dems had the executive and legislative branches for the first two years of the Obama admin. Where do you get four years from? Typical dem revisionist historian.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Axme

    I would like to have execution privelege pls

    June 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Axme

      I am one fugged up idiot

      June 20, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jh1289

      Haha! I'd like Execution privilege, too.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    EDDIE, send a link to the BS you are spewing.............

    June 20, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. ecomary

    This is not a good thing.

    I wish that Obama would stop protecting Holder.

    The cover-ups are always the worst part of screw ups EXCEPT the "Fast & Furious" screw up caused killing weapons to go to the Drug Lords of Mexico. Just think of how many people have been, and will be, killed by those guns.

    Now that is a huge fatal mistake, and people in the US government (maybe Holder) allowed this to happen.

    Shame on all of them.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • JWR

      Actually Atty. Gen. Holder stopped the "fast and furious" program started by Pres. George W. Bush's administration. The committee is not investigating the total program but only what they can score political points on!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

      Right, this could be as bad as telling the American People, Congress, the United Nations, you had proof of WMD's and then everyone finding out there were no WMD's and you knew it all along before an invasion of another country, resulting in not only thousands of deaths of Americans, but 100's of thousands of Iraqi's.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CM

    You people defending this and saying this is nothing...you do realize what happened, right?

    Holder's Department of Justice went undercover, bought firearms from legally licensed dealers and then would turn around and sell them to the drug cartels. Why?

    They say its to figure out who is doing the buying...really? Then why buy firearms from private dealers?

    Do you all not remember the cries a few years ago that the drug cartels were so violent because American gun laws were so lax?

    I do hope that you on the left can put two and two together...unless of course you buy the "ends justify the means" mentality...which is scary

    June 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @CM,do any reading ,or you one that believes everything you hear from,Fox,Limbaugh extremist news.Operation Gunrunner started by Bush and AG Gonzales,read the facts ,republicans started crap ,that was hid till the president finally found it,years later,but it took a law officers life to do it,get your facts straight!! Typical idiot republicans!!!

      June 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      @pete, exactly. Just like obama declassified the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, that bush hid, then they blame obama for the cost. Are gopers ignorant or just st upid

      June 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • William C

      You guys are completely wrong. The gun-walking operations didn't involve undercover agents buying the guns. It involved real gunrunners buying guns while under surveillance. Instead of arresting them on the spot, the ATF continued to follow the guns so they could hopefully arrest the cartel members, criminals, as well as the gunrunners. The problem was that they couldn't follow all the guns, and some were used to kill civilians.

      You know what could have prevented all of these gun deaths? Stricter regulation of gun sales in the United States. What's going to stop this from happening? The NRA and the Republicans. Who is crying crocodile tears about gun deaths? The NRA and the Republicans.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott


      Actually, I'm pretty sure the "Fast and Furious" operation began under the Bush administration, well before Holder was with the Justice Department.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • fltony

      Agree...it just backfired....I wonder what else will float to the surface as this investigation continues....

      June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jh1289

      Well, you just said they sold the guns. And you said they were trying to figure out who did the buying. Sounds like it worked.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • JWR

      That is not accurate. Atty. Gen. Holder stopped the program that was started during the previous administration. The committee is not thoroughly investigating "fast and furious", only what the Republicans believe will score them political points!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pete

    Why don't people go back to the Bush days with Operation Gun runner,where this all started.Question Bushs AG Gonzales,this is just more trash left over that now Pres.Obama and Mr.Holder have to fix,they're being held accountable,but its your republican crooks who created these fraudulent issues,it was much worst then,like CIA Operative Plame Wilson,wife of ambassador Joseph Wilson being brought out in public,losing her cover,almost costing her life.Remember that Darrell Issa,you're a hypocrite who did nothing because it was Bush ,who would eventually been held accountable for that breach of security, just to get back at the ambassador for what he publicly ,REMEMBER!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • OldVet

      Pete..if the evidence so clearly points to Bush/Cheney, I'd think President Obama and Mr Holder would welcome the chance to divulge any information that would lay the blame at the feet of Bush/ Cheney. So claiming executive privilege doesn't seem to support the notion that someone else is responsible.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Heydrich

    Okay, I guess it's now official.

    Obama is a CRIMINAL!!!

    Let's start the Impeachment Proceedings!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      You are stu pid. If he is are criminal, then bush/cheny are terrorist crime lords. The entire bush cabinet should have been executed for high treason

      June 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • fltony

      sounds good to me

      June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jh1289

      We didn't do it for Bush. Not gonna do it for Obama.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
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