June 21st, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Contempt vote inflames Fast and Furious debate

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A possible U.S. House vote next week on citing Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress in connection with the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting evoked bitter political sniping Thursday between Republicans and Democrats.

Despite statements by all parties favoring a deal to avoid what would be an unprecedented contempt citation against a sitting attorney general, the heated rhetoric indicated congressional leaders and Holder remained committed to deeply rooted stances on the politically charged issue.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, defended the House Oversight Committee vote Wednesday to refer the contempt citation to the full House, saying the goal was to uncover the truth about Fast and Furious, including what he called certain White House involvement.

"The House will vote next week on a contempt measure unless these documents are released," Boehner said.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney called the Republican investigation a "politically motivated, taxpayer funded, election year fishing expedition."

"It is this approach that explains at least in part why this Congress has the lowest approval ratings of any in recent memory," Carney said.

Holder, meanwhile, said his offer still stands to turn over some of the documents sought by House Republicans.


Obama asserts executive privilege on Fast and Furious
June 20th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Obama asserts executive privilege on Fast and Furious

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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Topics: Eric Holder • Fast and Furious • The News