Washington (CNN) - An extraordinary House committee hearing began considering a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday even though President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over documents sought by the panel investigating the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting.
Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, said the White House assertion of executive privilege "falls short" of any reason to delay the hearing.
However, the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, accused Issa of setting an "impossible standard" for Holder by demanding documents the attorney general was legally prohibited from providing.
Issa has "no interest in resolving" the dispute with Holder, Cummings said.
Wednesday's development further heightened the drama of a high-profile showdown between Issa and Holder over the committee's demand for the Department of Justice to turn over more documents about the Fast and Furious program.
The White House move means the Department of Justice can withhold the documents from the House Oversight Committee, which was scheduled to consider a contempt measure Wednesday against Holder.
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President Obama returned home from his trip to Mexico overnight on Tuesday. It was an uneventful flight home with the exception that he did make an appearance in the press cabin on Air Force One to wish a reporter a Happy Birthday. Marine One landed on the South Lawn last night at 1:20a. So Obama is taking it easy today. His administration says he'll have meetings at the White House today but we won't know when or with whom because there are no public events listed on his schedule. Not even a briefing. But we'll keep you updated on any changes that happen throughout the day!