Rep. Darrell Issa is pushing forward with a vote of contempt of Congress against Attorney General, despite a lasts minute effort by Barack Obama to stop the dissemination of documents that have been requested for several months pertaining to the gun walking operation known as Fast and Furious. Obama exerted executive privilege in a letter sent on Wednesday morning to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“This untimely assertion by the Justice Department falls short of any reason to delay today’s proceedings,” Issa said.
Fox News reports,
Issa said committee staff are evaluating the letter but described the move as too little, too late as he and other GOP lawmakers questioned the basis for the assertion.
Issa accused the Justice Department of trying to compel the committee to close its investigation in exchange for documents it hasn’t yet seen. “I can’t accept that deal. No other committee chairman would,” he said.
But Issa’s Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., fired back that Holder never made such a demand, and said the attorney general had come to the committee in “good faith” to try and work out an agreement.
Democrats call Issa’s request for a vote of contempt a “political witch hunt” and they believe Holder has come to the committee in “good faith” to answer all questions and provide documentation that has been requested.
The move by Barack Obama just complicates matters. The use of executive privilege in this matter is without any real basis as no one seems to be accountable in the matter though there are smoking guns lying right in front of everyone that officials in the Justice Department knew what was going on.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote to Issa in a letter informing him of the president’s decision.
“We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to address the committee’s concerns and to accommodate the committee’s legitimate oversight interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious,” Cole wrote. “Although we are deeply disappointed that the committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the department remains willing to work with the committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.”
According to Issa, it isn’t just the committee that wants the documents, but he family of Brian Terry, who was killed with one of the weapons in operation Fast and Furious. “We want the documents. Brian Terry’s family would like the documents that are responsive to how in fact their son was gunned down with weapons that came from lawful dealers but at the … behest of the Justice Department,” Issa said.
There is no doubt that the vote of contempt will prevail with a 22 to 16 majority by Republicans, but we will have to wait and see the repercussions of the move in its aftermath.
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