By Whitney Evans | June 20th, 2012
The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform will move forward with contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder, even after President Obama signed an executive order restricting access to documents in the botched Department of Justice “Fast and Furious” program, CNN reported.
In an attempt to possibly avoid the hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder met with Rep. Darrell Issa on June 19 to negotiate the release of additional relevant documents. After the meeting, both parties continued to point fingers: Holder’s camp claimed Issa refused the documents they offered, while Issa’s camp claimed Holder would not release the documents until the committee promised to cease pursuing the case. Republicans took issue with the executive branch’s lack of transparency, while Rep. Elijah Cummings said Issa’s move was an attempt to embarrass the president. Cummings is ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform and attended the meeting between Holder and Issa.
“I’m just telling you, as a lawyer, I think that contempt is going far too far,” Cummings said in a CNN interview.
As a follow-up to the June 19 meeting, Holder sent a letter to President Obama requesting he exercise executive privilege over the release of the documents. Holder’s request was granted, and Deputy Attorney General James L. Cole sent a letter to Issa today informing him of the president’s decision.
“The documents responsive to the remaining subpoena items pertain to sensitive law enforcement activities, including ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions, or were generated by Department officials in the course of responding to congressional investigations or media inquiries about this matter that are generally not appropriate for disclosure,” Cole said in the letter to Issa.
Despite this, Issa said he still plans to progress with holding Holder in contempt for failing to produce all the documents the House Oversight Committee requested.
- The video of Issa’s announcement: Contempt proceedings move forward.
- And a video of Representative Elijah Cummings response: Rep. Cummings speaks out against contempt.
- Also, check out Holder’s request for executive privilege.
- See the letter from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole.
- CNN’s contempt vote Q&A.