So what is to become of Eric Holder and the vote by the House on Thursday finding the Attorney General to be in contempt of Congress? Is this just going to be a type of censure or will more take place? It appears the vote of contempt was not the only vote placed. In a second vote, the House gave itself authority to take Holder to court to obtain the documents it has been asking for over the past 18 months.
According to a report at Townhall.com,
That will put a spotlight not only on Holder but also on his boss, President Barack Obama, who has insisted he can withhold the documents under executive privilege.
“The contempt citation will go away,” said Todd Peterson, a law professor at George Washington University.
“Congress will probably file a lawsuit, in part hoping to find some judicial support but more because it’s just another way to publicize the president’s refusal to comply with their demands for documents,” Peterson said.
Failure to obey a potential court order on the documents would expose Holder to a more serious contempt of court charge, though few expect it to come to that.
This is only the second time an attorney general has been held in contempt and the first time a sitting AG has been held in contempt.
However, in 2008 Democrats held an investigation about the firings of nine U. S. attorneys and held Bush aides in contempt as they refused to turn over documents and testify. They went to federal court and the judge dismissed the claims of the aides that they were “absolutely immune” from having to testify, something that one would think would be a problem when it comes to the Fifth Amendment.
It seems now that a precedent has been set to operate this way, that Congress should be able to seek legal action against Eric Holder, which will not only keep him on the hot seat, but will also bring a spotlight on Barack Obama in this matter.
Many are asking “why bother?” since it is possible for Obama to lose in November and court proceedings would take far longer. One answer: justice. There are hundreds of dead Mexicans, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ICE agent Jaime Zapata who need justice. there is no doubt that their killers need to be brought to justice, but there is also the need for our country to bring those who empowered their killed to justice. If we do not do this, then the law has absolutely no teeth to it and those who have engaged in this criminal activity with no thought to human life will only be encouraged to engage in the same, if not more deviant behavior, in the future.
Eric Holder must be made to produce documents with information concerning the operation that the House Oversight Committee has requested. Of the 7,600 documents that have been turned over to the committee, most of them appear like this:
Chairman Darrell Issa is not backing off of the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious because Eric Holder is not cooperation or simply because the House has voted Holder to be in contempt. In fact, he issued a statement following the vote.
“Today, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his continued refusal to produce relevant documents in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. This was not the outcome I had sought and it could have been avoided had Attorney General Holder actually produced the subpoenaed documents he said he could provide.
“The Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, and the cover-up by Justice Department officials of wrongdoing, has been a fair and fact based investigation. False and partisan allegations by the White House and some congressional Democrats about the Oversight Committee’s efforts were undermined by the votes of 17 Democrats. These Members resisted the pressure of their own leadership and the Obama Administration to support this investigation on the House floor.
“Claims by the Justice Department that it has fully cooperated with this investigation fall at odds with its conduct: issuing false denials to Congress when senior officials clearly knew about gunwalking, directing witnesses not to answer entire categories of questions, retaliating against whistleblowers, and producing only 7,600 documents while withholding over 100,000.
“I greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of Senator Chuck Grassley, his staff, and other Senators on the Judiciary Committee who have pressed the Obama Administration for the full truth. Senator Grassley began this investigation and has been a full partner throughout it. I must also recognize the hard work done by many of my colleagues here in the House – without their efforts the Justice Department’s stonewalling would have succeeded.
“My message to my colleagues and others who have fought for answers: We are still fighting for the truth and accountability – for the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, for whistleblowers who have faced retaliation, and for countless victims of Operation Fast and Furious in Mexico. Unless President Obama relents to this bipartisan call for transparency and an end to the cover-up, our fight will move to the courts where we will prevail in getting the documents that the Justice Department and President Obama’s flawed assertion of executive privilege have denied the American people.”
With this being an election year, you can expect the GOP to push this issue towards resolution.
If you do not have a good grasp of what Fast and Furious is all about, I would highly recommend Katie Pavlich’s book “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and It’s Shameless Cover-up.” The introduction alone, by ATF Special Agent Jay Dobyns, is worth the price to see how the office of ATF has undergone fundamental changes in the past two decades.