Entries in Attorney General Eric Holder (3)


Attorney General Eric Holder Sued on Fast and Furious

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has filed a civil contempt of Congress lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to enforce a subpoena to obtain internal Justice Department memos about the botched ATF Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation.

At Holder’s request, the White House invoked executive privilege in June on the information that Rep. Issa’s committee subpoenaed seeking internal DOJ documents after drafting a Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Congress that contained inaccurate information about operations at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms.

“The Attorney General’s conception of the reach of ‘Executive privilege,’ were it to be accepted, would cripple congressional oversight of Executive branch agencies, to the very great detriment of the Nation and our constitutional structure,” the lawsuit filed Monday morning at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asserted.

“The Committee asks this Court to reject the Attorney General’s assertion of ‘Executive privilege’ and order him forthwith to comply with the Committee’s subpoena.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa., have been investigating the gun trafficking operation that resulted in the ATF Phoenix Field Office’s losing track of about 2,000 guns.

The ATF’s flawed “Fast and Furious” operation allowed firearms to “walk” across the U.S. border into Mexico in hopes of tracing the guns and locating major weapons traffickers. ATF devised the program in 2009 to try to track straw purchases of firearms where a gun is legally bought but then illegally sold to another individual.

The operation took a tragic turn when two weapons found in December 2010 at the scene of murdered U.S. Border Patrol Brian Terry were found to be linked to Fast and Furious. The guns from Fast and Furious have been linked to dozens of crimes in Mexico and Arizona as well.

In seeking the president’s assertion of executive privilege, Holder wrote to president Obama that the documents in question, “were not generated in the course of the conduct of Fast and Furious. Instead, they were created after the investigative tactics at issue in that operation had terminated and in the course of the Department’s deliberative process concerning how to respond to congressional and related media inquiries into that operation.”

The executive privilege claim in the investigation was the first time Obama had asserted executive privilege during his term. The House of Representatives voted  June 28 to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to release the subpoenaed documents.

The Justice Department has produced thousands of pages of materials about Fast and Furious and attempted to reach a compromise with Issa and Grassley in the days leading up to Holder’s contempt vote.

“We were always willing to work with the Committee, instead the House and the Committee have said they prefer to litigate,” Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said in a statement.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed, “This partisan lawsuit wastes taxpayer dollars and resources, and is a distraction from the urgent business before Congress: acting to create jobs and grow our economy.”

Issa said in announcing the lawsuit, “The president’s decision was a calculated political maneuver designed to stop the release of documents until after November’s elections. After promising an unprecedented level of transparency, the president is attempting to expand the reach of executive privilege to obstruct the truth about the reckless conduct that contributed to the death of a Border Patrol Agent and countless Mexican citizens.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general is conducting a wide-ranging review of Fast and Furious and another botched ATF gun trafficking operation dubbed Wide Receiver. Unlike the congressional investigation, the Department’s inspector general has access to all Justice Department documents, including grand jury materials. The inspector general’s review is expected to be released in the next several weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Boehner Charges Ahead on Contempt Resolution for Holder

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After a last-ditch appeal by the White House fell flat Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters this morning that he will proceed on a vote Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding certain documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.

“The United States government ran a gunrunning operation that has resulted in hundreds of deaths,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “Brian Terry’s family has a right to know what happened. The American people have a right to know what happened and we’re going to proceed.”

The contempt resolution passed out of committee strictly down party lines and the debate Thursday promises to be a bitter dispute as well. Propounding the partisanship is the National Rifle Association, which announced last week it “will consider this vote in our future candidate evaluations.” While that warning could persuade some Democrats to vote with the GOP, Boehner said the NRA has “no role” in the contempt vote as far as he’s concerned, but rather the unprecedented move “is about getting to the truth.”

“This vote was scheduled last week and … we’d really rather not be there,” he said. “We’d really rather have the attorney general and the president work with us to get to the bottom of a very serious issue.”

Later, the House Committee on Rules met to consider the contempt resolution “for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the committee on Oversight and Government Reform.”

“Unfortunately, they’re not willing to show the American people the truth about what happened,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate place where we are but our members raise their right hand and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States and we’re going to do our job.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Rubio Calls for AG Holder to Resign

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., became the second senator to call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign over the Fast & Furious gun-walking scandal.

“Yes, I do at this point, I do,” Rubio answered when asked at The Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning if the attorney general should go. “I think we’ve now reached a point of no return on this issue.”

Rubio said yesterday’s decision by the administration to invoke executive privilege was “the last straw,” for him.

“I don’t know how the attorney general can continue to exercise that office with any level of credibility after the decision that was made yesterday,” he said.

“I think he’s, they’ve, been given multiple opportunities to answer very legitimate questions that the Congress has. We know for a fact that something they told the Congress was not true. And now, I think it’s very legitimate for the Congress to inquire as to why we were told something that wasn’t true," Rubio said. "And they refuse to provide materials to prove that.”

Earlier this month, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, became the first senator to call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. Holder had been testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee where Cornyn expressed his views that the attorney general has not been honest and has been overly political.

In the House of Representatives, more than 50 Republicans that have called for Holder’s resignation.  Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents to congressional investigators from the Fast and Furious scandal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio