Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation, CBS News has learned.
The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee’s investigation, which is now in its second year.
The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, “false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”
Of course, the DOJ claims they’ve been doing what’s required:
For its part, the Justice Department says it has complied with the congressional investigations, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
“We’ve done twice-a-month (document) productions since last year, and the Attorney General has testified about this matter no less than seven times,” a Justice official tells CBS News.
Note, however, how they’re carefully spinning this. They’re talking about producing documents and testifying, but not about what the documents or testimony said, which is the basis of the contempt citation. The contempt citation also says that they’ve withheld documents, so the fact that they’ve produced documents A, B, and C doesn’t matter if they’re deliberately withholding documents X, Y, and Z.
I don’t expect any of the Democrats to vote for this; to the contrary, I expect them to circle the wagons and pull out every implausible defense they can think of to try to save Holder.