President Barack Obama granted an 11th-hour Justice Department request Wednesday to exert executive privilege over "Fast and Furious" documents, a last-minute legal maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder by Republicans in the House.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge ahead Wednesday morning with its meeting on the contempt resolution anyway.-
If the vote proceeds, Republicans have more than enough votes on the committee to pass the resolution. However, Holder would not be considered held in contempt of Congress unless and until the full House approves the measure.-
The move by Holder and Obama to lock down some requested documents only complicates the fight over the botched anti-gunrunning operation between the legislative and executive branches.-
After Holder made the request to Obama via letter on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Wednesday informing him that the president had granted the request.-
Obama's decision pertains to documents beginning in February 2011 that allegedly record how Justice officials learned about the "Fast and Furious" probe. -
Holder, in his letter to Obama, said those documents pertain to the "deliberative process" on how to respond to congressional and media inquiries.-
Wednesday's developments follow a flurry of activity Tuesday, as Holder tried to negotiate a way to avert the contempt proceedings.
Issa had earlier indicated a willingness to postpone the vote after Holder indicated a willingness to make compromises and supply some documents in response to House Republicans' subpoena.-
But Issa told reporters after a roughly 20-minute meeting with Holder Tuesday that the attorney general instead briefed them on the documents in lieu of delivering them.-
Issa told FOX News that Holder didn't provide "anything in writing," and said the family of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry wants the documents as much as he does.-
Weapons from the "Fast and Furious" anti-gunrunning operation were found at Terry's murder scene.-
The failed "Fast and Furious" operation attempted to sell thousands of guns to arms dealers along the US-Mexico border to trace them to leaders of drug cartels. However, many of them showed up at crime scenes.-
Congressional investigators have been trying to determine if and when high-level Justice Department officials knew about problems with the operation.
SOURCE LINK: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/20/house-republicans-tee-up-imminent-contempt-vote-against-holder/
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