Justice Dept. Hopes to Derail Contempt Charges Against AG Holder

Tuesday, 12 Jun 2012 10:35 AM

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The Justice Department is working behind the scenes to derail congressional plans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in the battle over documents in the Operation Fast and Furious investigation. However, a number of current and former Justice officials don’t believe they will be able to stop the vote, The Washington Post reported.

Justice officials were negotiating with staffers for House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in an effort to make a deal on subpoenaed documents sought in the bungled operation.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole said, according to the Post, “We believe that an amicable resolution of these matters is achievable.”

However, current and former Justice officials believe efforts to stop the contempt vote next week will fail.

“This is political theater, and it’s been political theater from the beginning,” Holder’s former spokesman, Matthew Miller, told the Post. “There is no evidence that the attorney general or senior Justice officials knew anything about the Fast and Furious tactics. I don’t think Chairman Issa wants a solution. He wants a contempt vote.”

Issa, who has scheduled a contempt-of-Congress vote for June 20, charged that by not providing documents and other materials sought in an October subpoena Holder “has failed to meet his legal obligations.”

“This comes after repeated warnings to the Attorney General about the consequences of his continued failure to produce subpoenaed documents related to the reckless conduct that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious,” Issa said in a statement.

Should Issa’s committee vote in favor of the contempt charge, the House speaker would have to schedule a vote before the entire House. If the House approved the matter would then move to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

Fast and Furious allowed thousands of guns to fall into the hands of violent Mexican drug cartels. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed Dec. 14, 2010 with guns linked to the operation that was designed to snare drug lords using illegal weapons.


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